Bulldogs on fire
High school football team ranked eighth provincially in Tier I
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012 06:00 am
The roar was deafening after the Bellerose Bulldogs shocked the Salisbury Sabres in one of the most impressive victories in the history of the high school football program.
Last week’s thunderous 27-7 conquest of the storied Sherwood Park football club solidified the Bulldogs’ status as a team to fear in the metro Edmonton league's very tough Carr conference.
Salisbury and the Bev Facey Falcons have combined to win the last 10 Carr titles.
“We’ve never beaten Salisbury before so it was a big deal,” said Dean Ciampanelli, a lethal Grade 11 defensive end and linebacker. “We don’t usually beat those teams from Sherwood Park so we were pretty excited.”
The magnitude of the victory at Riel Recreation Park was on par with the 2010 historic 7-0 triumph against the St. Albert High Skyhawks, the first win by the Bulldogs in the Battle of St. Albert after seven straight losses.
“It was the most complete game we've had at the senior level for a couple years. It was very much a total team effort,” said Chad Hill, head coach of the 4-1 Bulldogs.
It also overshadowed the decisive 26-6 decision against the Paul Kane Blues (2-4) early in the season.
“It was a huge one against Sal. A lot of us felt it was even better than beating PK. We were pretty ecstatic,” said quarterback Dallas Moroz.
The loss knocked the Sabres (3-2) out of the provincial Tier I rankings and the Bulldogs jumped two spots to No. 8 as the second metro team in the top 10.
“I don't like to put too much into a provincial ranking; it's winning in your league that counts. However, being in the top 10 is a positive reflection of the hard work our players, coaches and management have put forth the past few years,” Hill said.
If the regular season ended today, the Bulldogs would duke it out with the Skyhawks (4-2) in a dream playoff matchup. The Bulldogs are still smarting from blowing a 13-point second-half lead in the 14-13 loss to the Skyhawks last month.
“That would be awesome to play them again. It’s in the back of our minds. We don’t really want to think about it too much but if we get a shot at them that would be perfect. We would rather play them than any other team,” Ciampanelli said.
The Bulldogs have three games remaining before the Oct. 30 semifinals: Thursday against the winless Archbishop Jordan Scots at 7:30 p.m. at the Riel turf field, Oct. 18 against the powerhouse Falcons (5-0), ranked third in Tier I as the defending Carr champions, and Oct. 25 against the Austin O’Brien Crusaders (2-3), last year’s Tier II provincial champions.
“We have a good shot at making the playoffs,” Moroz said. “The guys are pretty excited. We’re pretty motivated to keep working harder.”
Moroz, 17, spearheaded the attack against Salisbury with two touchdown passes to Joshua Dobbins off bootlegs and scrambled five yards for a major.
The Grade 12 Bulldog hooked up with Dobbins for a 25-yard scoring strike in the second quarter and a pivotal 16-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter after the Sabres cut the deficit to with a converted TD off a one-yard run.
“Dobbins just ran an out and I threw over top of the end and he caught it for a touchdown both times,” said Moroz, who was 3-for-11 passing for 69 yards in the win.
A 22-yard field goal by Connor Hughes opened the scoring in the first quarter.
Hughes also converted TDs by Moroz and Dobbins and added a rouge in the second quarter to put the Bulldogs on top 18-0 at halftime. His extra point after Dobbins’ TD in the fourth quarter made it 25-7.
The third safety in two games by Ciampanelli closed out the scoring.
Grade 12 tailback Ben Graunke cranked out 154 yards on 23 carries. He ranks among the top rushers in the league with 915 yards on 109 carries.
Salisbury was 8-for-20 passing for 95 yards and rushed for 99 yards on 16 carries against a fired-up Bulldogs defence.
Salisbury turned the ball over a whopping eight times. Ciampanelli, Mark Warawa, Billy Clapp, Darek Skinner, Andre Sarafinchan, Liam Gray and Tyler Moroz were credited with fumble recoveries and Shannon Stuht picked off a pass.
Foster Rae led the Bulldogs in tackles with six and Ciampanelli had five.
“Our defence played to a whole another level. It really should’ve been a shutout,” said Ciampanelli, 16. “We just put all the pieces together. Everyone played well.”
THIRD DOWN: The Bulldogs unveiled their third jerseys for charity against Salisbury. They will wear them again against Austin O’Brien and after the game the special black and white jerseys will be sold for $75 each. Players will get first choice on purchasing their own jersey.
All monies raised will go towards the Bellerose high school’s Making ‘Cents’ of Brain Tumours initiative in support of the Brain Tumour Foundation. Bellerose is raising money in memory of family and friends who are or have been affected by a brain tumour.