Junior Dawgs trample Blues
Bellerose knocks off the defending premier champions in metro Edmonton high school football
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 22, 2012 06:00 am
The Bellerose Bulldogs left their mark in Tuesday’s statement game against Paul Kane Blues, the defending premier junior champions in metro Edmonton high school football.
The Bulldogs exploded for 19 unanswered points in the second quarter, en route to a convincing 32-7 victory over the Blues at Riel Recreation Park.
“Considering they’re cross-town rivals, everyone is pretty excited about this win,” said Bellerose game star Dylan Shorten.
The Grade 10 slotback and defensive halfback grabbed two touchdown passes, picked off Paul Kane quarterback Shaydon Philip twice in the second half and recovered a fumble in the first half.
“It feels great just knowing I made a big contribution by putting in a lot of effort into how great our team did,” Shorten said. “We put in a great team effort. We played hard all the way through all four quarters. We executed in all of our positions and every player was a key player.”
The loss was the first for the junior Blues in the metro Edmonton league. Last season, in the second year of football at Paul Kane, they went undefeated in the league.
“Bellerose is a very good team. We knew coming in it was going to be a hard game,” Philip said. “We tried our hardest, but they came out as the better team. They have some really good athletes.”
In the first quarter the Blues couldn’t capitalize with the wind despite pinning the Bulldogs deep a couple of times.
Andrew Johnson’s 11-yard touchdown run and Nick Cowan’s conversion opened the scoring in the second quarter for Bellerose.
“That got us going. We were pretty excited and motivated to keep getting more points and playing our best,” Shorten said. “We did play pretty good in the first half but in the second half we stepped it up a lot and we played our hardest.”
Shorten’s first TD was a 38-yard reception from quarterback Matt Short. Cowan’s two-point conversion run was unsuccessful.
Robbie Tambura’s four-yard TD run before halftime put the Blues in a deep hole.
“We didn’t come out fast enough in the beginning. We could’ve came out stronger, but we still did good though,” Philip said. “We made some mental mistakes that kind of gave up some touchdowns.”
In the third quarter Shorten’s second TD catch from Short covered 50 yards to make it 25-0.
“He threw about a 20-yard pass. It got tipped by the other team and I just caught it and ran it in,” said Shorten, 15.
The Blues got on the board with 7:49 left in the third quarter, when Philip hooked up with John Pharis for a 25-yard TD strike. Pharis was Philip’s main target throughout the contest.
“There was a bunch of pressure and I just threw it up and John did the rest,” Philip said. “Once we got our touchdown our defence came up a little more and got stuff done. We were kind of focused more.”
The teams then exchanged turnovers in Paul Kane territory to close out the quarter.
In the opening minute of the fourth quarter, Seth Waselenchuk’s long and winding punt return for a TD, highlighted by a devastating block by Johnson, was called back because of a flag. It was one of several penalties the Bulldogs racked up in the win.
“We played a solid, physical game but the penalties we accumulated are unacceptable. We need to be far more disciplined,” said Bellerose head coach Chad Hill. “The amount of O-linemen jumping before the snap, and holding calls, are hurting our offensive production.”
With seven minutes to play, Johnson galloped 25 yards into the end zone for his second TD and the third in two games. Cowan kicked the extra point.
After the ensuing kick off, Shorten’s second interception was returned to the Paul Kane 41 with 5:03 remaining. The game ended with a slew of penalties and time-outs as play dragged to a standstill.
The victory was the second of the season for the undefeated Bulldogs, last year’s premier conference semifinalists.
“It feels very satisfying to give the defending champs their first loss, however we need to improve several key areas of our game before we are able to compete for a championship,” Hill said. “We have the Whitecourt jamboree this weekend, followed by a bye. So the good news is we have lots of time to coach and correct mistakes.”
The Blues were coming off a 20-17 win over the Bev Facey Falcons (0-2) in Sherwood Park that had extended their metro Edmonton exhibition, regular season and playoff winning streak to eight games. The team’s only loss last season was against the St. Joes Celtics of Grande Prairie.
Philip, 15, said the games against the Bulldogs and Falcons were similar despite the outcomes.
“They’re both good teams and we’re a good team too. We just came out flat. Against Bev Facey we came out a little flat too, but we bounced back quick enough. (Tuesday) we didn’t bounce back quick enough,” said the Grade 10 athlete who also lined up at safety against the Bulldogs.
The Blues and Bulldogs huddle up Oct. 2. The Blues tackle the O’Leary Spartans (2-0) at 5 p.m. at the Riel turf field and the Bulldogs play the St. Joseph Saints (2-0) at 6 p.m. at Johnny Bright Park.