Skyhawks finish strong against AOB
Matti Thurlin scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win the game
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 06:00 am
Big plays propelled the St. Albert High Skyhawks to victory Tuesday in metro Edmonton high school football.
Grade 11 quarterback Keith Zyla fired touchdown passes to Brendan Thera-Plamondon and Matti Thurlin in the 36-25 rollercoaster affair against the Austin O’Brien Crusaders at Clarke Park.
“It really was a back and forth game against AOB,” said Sam Johnson, head coach of the 3-1 Skyhawks.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Crusaders drove the field from deep in their own end and kicked a 25-yard field goal for their first lead of the game at 25-22 with nine minutes remaining.
The Skyhawks didn’t panic, and with six minutes to play Zyla hit Thurlin with a 43-yard TD pass down the sideline.
With a minute to go, and the Skyhawks ahead 29-25, a failed third-down attempt by the Crusaders gave the Skyhawks the ball deep in Austin O’Brien territory. Thurlin capped off a great game with his second TD of the night, an eight-yard scamper around the right side.
The Grade 12 running back also hauled in three catches for 109 yards.
Zyla was 9-for-15 passing for 221 yards.
The Carr Conference match featured the Skyhawks, last year’s Tier III north finalists, against 2012 Tier II provincial champions.
In the Football Alberta rankings the Crusaders (1-2) are third in Tier II and the Skyhawks are eighth in Tier III.
In the first quarter, after each team had a possession, defensive end Mac Chabot tackled the punt returner for a two-point safety after the Crusader retreated into the end zone in an attempt to return Zyla’s punt.
On the Skyhawks’ next possession, Zyla hooked up with Thurlin for a 58-yard pass-and-run play, setting up Brendan Thera-Plamondon for the first of his three TDs with a one-yard plunge.
In the second quarter, after a converted TD pulled the Crusaders to within two points of the Skyhawks, Zyla and Thera-Plamondon teamed up on a 58-yard pass-and-run play to put the ball inside the five. Three plays later, Thera-Plamondon finished off what he started with a two-yard TD with two minutes left until halftime.
The Crusaders replied with a TD on the next series and the Skyhawks answered the bell again, as Thera-Plamondon reeled in a Zyla pass and motored 72 yards into the end zone.
The Grade 12 slotback recorded four catches in total for 102 yards. He also put in extra road work in preparation for the contest by completing the five-kilometre race at the 10th annual St. Albert Fall Challenge on Sunday with a time of 21 minutes 42 seconds for fourth place overall.
In the third quarter the Crusaders posted a TD and two-point conversion to tie the game 22-22.
THIRD DOWN: The Skyhawks were gunning for their fourth straight win Friday, when they played the Salisbury Sabres (2-1) at Johnny Bright Park. The score was unavailable at press time.
The next home game is Thursday against the Paul Kane Blues (2-2) at 5 p.m. at Riel Recreation Park. Admission is $5.