The undefeated Mt. Douglas Rams immediately made their presence felt at O’Hagan Field Saturday when they picked off the first pass out of the hands of Fighting Irish quarterback Giordy Belfiore.
Visiting Vancouver College Oct. 5 for the Fighting Irish homecoming game, the Rams took over deep in their own territory but two running plays later they covered 90 yards and scored their first touchdown on their way to a 42-21 victory.
The Rams (2-1, 3-0) rushed for more than 400 yards but it was two-way standout Marcus Davis who lit a spark for the visitors when he picked off Belfiore on the first play of the game. The packed, purple-clad bleachers were momentarily hushed.
“It was tough,” said the Vancouver College quarterback. “I wasn’t really expecting it because all the teams we’ve played, there’s never been a player like him that we’ve had to face. Their d-line really beat us up. With a slow start to the game like that, we got behind and it was tough.”
The Rams scored on a second short run by Julian Luis and off a 20-yard pass from Ashton MacKinnon to Seye Farinu before Vancouver College got on the board in the second quarter.
With the loss, the Fighting Irish (2-0, 1-2) rack up their second loss in as many weeks.
Belfiore, who is only in Grade 10, connected with wide receiver Manny Khun-Khun for a 14-yard touchdown pass. The receiver out-stepped the Rams close coverage with a hard, inside cut to make Vancouver College the first team to score against Mt. Doug in the regular season.
“I saw the corner was pressing me so I knew could take one step to the outside and fake him,” said Khun-Khun. “He stepped out, I went straight in — caught the ball. I saw three guys collapsing on me so I put my head down and trucked through them.”
Khun-Khun combined with Belfiore on six passes for 118 yards. The Fighting Irish gained 168 yards in the air and 239 yards rushing.
Although the Rams had outpaced the Fighting Irish 35-7 by halftime, the crowd’s vuvuzelas and thumping drum beats didn’t relent.
Without their record-setting running back Robbie Welch who has missed two games with mono, the Irish turned to Clyde Caisip and Ovie Odjegba who had 105 and 97 yards, respectively.
Vancouver College head coach Todd Bernett said he expects more from his varsity roster. They may have lost roughly half of last year’s players to graduation, but they’ve “lost more than half the focus,” he said.
“If they can respond better during the week in practice, we’ll clean that up and we’ll play better. It’s a focus issue during the week of practice,” said Bernett, now in his 13th season and the winningest coach in Vancouver College football history.
“What happened here is going to create some change. They’re either going to get down and feel sorry for themselves or they’re going to believe that we have faith in them and they’ll give us their focus and they’ll give us their best.”
Khun-Khun said meeting the defending AAA provincial champions wasn’t a distraction and anticipated what his coaches will be promoting during next week’s practice.
“We’re going to come out stronger every other week now,” he said. “We usually bring our energy up each and every game and not just have some games that are up, but we have to have every game and we have to be energized all game, not just through the first quarter but all four quarters.
“There’s no one to blame. All of us, we have to all bring it up next week in practice and continue from there.”
Notre Dame 22 - 28 Handsworth
The Notre Dame Jugglers (0-2, 0-2) hosted the Handsworth Highlanders (1-1, 2-0) at Burnaby Lakes for an evening game Oct. 4 but lost for the fourth consecutive week.
Eric Hamber 10 - 8 Earl Marriott
In their second week of the AA Tier II regular season, the Eric Hamber Griffins (0-3, 1-1) won their first game of 2013 and defeated the visiting Mariners by two points at home Oct. 5.
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