PK scores blowout win
Blues rip Strathcona Lords for 11 touchdowns in Thursday's 80-0 drubbing in high school football
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 06:00 am
The Paul Kane Blues proved last week’s destruction of the St. Albert High Skyhawks wasn’t a fluke by obliterating the Strathcona Lords by 80 points Thursday.
After gleefully administering the worst beat-down in the history of the Skyhawks’ senior football team by a whopping 78-14 score, the Blues made the winless Lords look like a first-year atom team in the Miles conference runaway at Riel Recreation Park.
“Eighty to nothing does sound pretty bad – I wouldn’t say it was easy. They’re a tough team. They gave us some issues here and there and I give props to them,” said the classy Liam Ryan, a stalwart Grade 12 defensive end and offensive guard for the No. 6-ranked Tier II (750 to 1,249 students) team in Alberta.
The shutout victory by the 3-0 Blues equalled last year’s win total in the Carr conference and extended the longest winning streak in the team’s three-year history.
“It’s kind of a rush right now,” Ryan said. “I’m hoping we do really good this year but we have to get even better and work even harder to do that. Our biggest challenge is probably staying level-headed and don’t get high on ourselves.”
Next week the Blues face the Ardrossan Bisons (2-0) in their toughest test of the season. Kickoff is 5 p.m. Thursday in St. Albert and admission is $5.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us and we have to stay focused,” head coach Rob Strecker told the Blues in the post-game huddle after crushing the Lords. “It’s a great win tonight. I’m proud of you guys. We’re 3-0 and the journey keeps on going.”
Ardrossan, ranked seventh in Tier III (450 to 749 students), was last year’s Tier IV provincial finalists after going 4-4 in the Carr.
“Ardrossan is a tough opponent. We’ll bring it and they’ll bring it. It will be a great game,” Ryan said. “We lost to them last year (41-30) and we’re hoping to change that this year but you never know. Things can change.”
The Blues are firing on all cylinders in pursuit of a Miles championship and a shot at the Austin O’Brien Crusaders, the only Tier II team in the Carr, for the right to represent the metro Edmonton league in the provincial playoffs.
“The goal is to stay level-headed and don’t get too cocky. We haven’t done anything yet until we hoist that trophy at the end of the year,” Ryan said.
The Blues are certainly the talk of the town, especially after their mindboggling result in the Battle of St. Albert against the Skyhawks (1-1). Last year’s Carr finalists and Tier III provincial silver medallists are ranked ninth in Alberta.
“When we played the Skyhawks we were ready for them. We had our game plan set. We were one hundred per cent all there with each other. We clicked. We made sure that we did our assignments. We executed. We fired off the ball. We did everything we needed to do and we came out with a W,” Ryan said.
For the second consecutive blowout the Blues cranked out 11 touchdowns with incredible ease. The difference between the lopsided wins was a sympathetic timer who let the clock run down against the Lords, unlike the by-the-book timer who let the Skyhawks twist in the wind as the Blues turned a commanding 49-7 halftime advantage into a 71-14 throttling after three quarters.
“We did an overall great job today,” said Ryan, 17. “It was a team effort. There were no individual superstars on the team.”
The Blues tacked up 36 points in the first quarter, en route to leads of 50 at halftime and 66 entering the last quarter.
“We came out really strong. We worked hard all week for this game. We were focused. We trusted each other,” said Fawad Qadiri, a Grade 12 cornerback and wideout.
Was he surprised by the overwhelming margin of victory? “A little bit but we knew that we could put up points because our O is really good,” Qadiri said.
The defence was no slouch either with four picks, including three by the diminutive Qadiri in the first half. Shaydon Phillip also intercepted a pass to start the fourth quarter.
“It means a lot to show these guys that I can play and they can trust me more,” said Qadiri, a first-year senior team player.
Qadiri returned his first pick to the Lords’ 30 and on first down Grade 12 quarterback Cory Knott tip-toed down the sideline on a bootleg TD. Knott’s point-after attempt made it 29-0 with 3:06 left in the opening quarter. The interception came on first down and the Lords at their 25 after the kick off following Knott’s 20-yard TD strike to Frankie White and Greg Fleming added the two-point conversion.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Lords huddled up at their 39 on first down, when Qadiri stepped in front of a pass and ran the ball back to the 17. On second down, Kieran Porter scored from the 10 for the second of his three rushing TDs in the half. The Grade 11 tailback opened the scoring with a six-yard run on the team’s first possession and in the second quarter trotted over the goal line from the one with 2:42 left in the half and Knott’s convert put the Blues up by 50. Qadiri’s third pick near midfield set up Porter’s fifth TD of the season.
The scoring spree by the Blues included Knott’s 18-yard bootleg in the first quarter, Phillip’s 10-yard reception in the endzone in the second quarter, White’s 31-yard catch and run and Fleming’s 34-yard gallop in the third quarter and Theo Block’s 90-yard catch and run from backup quarterback Brendan Guy and Tyler Turner’s 81-yard punt return to pay dirt in the fourth quarter. Turner was a dangerous man returning punts throughout the contest.
Knott finished the game with three TD passes and a penalty nullified a one-yard TD toss to Block in the third quarter. On the next play Knott was intercepted in the endzone.
Knott’s two rushing majors gave the MVP candidate in the Miles seven TDs on the season. He also converted eight TDs and teamed up with Jon Pharis for the two-point play after Porter’s first TD.
The Lords struggled mightily moving the sticks in the first half against a jacked-up defence. Late in the third quarter the Lords gave up a safety in punt formation to trail by 59 and a TD-saving tackle by the Blues before quarter time kept them from breaking the shutout.
Qadiri, 18, believes the Blues have only scratched the surface as a team to fear. “Every week we’re getting better and better. We’re staying level-headed and focused in practice. It’s looking really good,” he said.