Alberni Sealions repeat as junior bantam champs

The Port Alberni Sea Lions beat the Comox Valley Buccaneers to win the junior bantam football championship.

The Port Alberni Sea Lions are back-to-back junior bantam football champions after defeating the Comox Valley Buccaneers 14–0 on Saturday in Comox Valley Raiders Football League play.

What was supposed to be a home game at Bob Dailey Stadium here in Port Alberni was hastily changed to a road tilt in Courtenay’s Bill Moore Memorial Park after snowfall forced the venue switch.

“We couldn’t use our field because it’s frozen,” Sea Lions president JJ Savard said. “Parks and Rec wouldn’t let us use it. So we played our home game in Comox.”

The first half of the game was scoreless. “The game really could have gone either way,” Lions’ head coach John Elley said. At half time he told his players “this is yours. You have the opportunity to win it or lose it right here,” he said.

“They came back in the second half and just put everything they had into it, knowing there were only 30 minutes left of football for the year.”

Mackendrick Hallworth scored the Sea Lions’ first touchdown in the third quarter, pushing through the middle and running it 15 yards to the end zone. The second TD came in the fourth quarter when Joe Schan did the same thing, only this time from five yards out.

Both TDs were converted, the second on a quarterback sneak play by Kevin Causton.

Elley said the Sea Lions’ defence was “phenomenal” in the final. “They were rock solid. They were able to read the plays that were coming out. We do a containment type of defence with four linebackers and three linemen,” he explained.

Elley said the Buccaneers played their best game of the year on Saturday.

“They played hard. Their defence and offence worked really well and made the game so good. The fact we got two touchdowns in the second half and no other points were scored by us was basically because they were playing so well,” he added.

The Sea Lions were a little light in the lineup late in the season, and a couple of players were thrust into double duty—both offence and defence—because of it. Backup quarterback Jaryd Lucas plays a cornerback on the defence, and in the final also played tight end. So he was on the field for the whole game, Elley said.

Elley would like to recruit more players for the Sea Lions program, which had to drop its peewee team due to lack of players this year. Any bantam or midget players joined the Nanaimo Redmen lineup this year.

“As we push through and got consecutive championship wins, and bring on more coaching staff…the future’s bright.”

editor@albernivalleynews.com