A storybook season for Seaquam almost entered another chapter.
That was, until a punt from the Seahawks in the dying minutes.
In just their first year of eligibility for B.C. AAA high school football, the Seahawks were a mere two minutes away from being one of the final four teams to play for the championship.
With less than two minutes to go, the Seahawks lined up for a punt holding onto a 21-20 lead over the Terry Fox Ravens.
That’s when disaster struck for Seaquam.
A high snap sent the ball sailing over the punter’s head, and Ravens defensive end Oscar Nunez scooped up the ball and scored an improbable touchdown.
After a two-point convert, the Ravens led 28-21. They held on for the victory Saturday evening at B.C. Place.
The touchdown ended a memorable season for the Seahawks.
They finished the regular season with a 5-2 record even though it was their first year playing in the AAA bracket. A convincing 56-17 wild-card victory over Handsworth left the Seahawks as one of the final eight teams playing for provincial football supremacy.
Head coach Navin Chand regrets some missed opportunities after an overall solid performance from his club.
“It was disappointing,” he said. “We actually outplayed Terry Fox for most of the game but we squandered a few opportunities.”
“That was the difference in the game.”
There were a couple of drives that stood out to Chand through 60 minutes. His team failed to score after being within the ten yard line on one drive. They also missed a couple of third and short opportunities during the game.
“We know that we could be there in the final four, that’s the disappointing part.”
One of the main questions for the Seahawks now will be how they step up their game on both offence and defence going into next season.
Twelfth graders Tyson and Jalen Philpot will move on to college level football after leading this Seaquam team for the majority of the season.
Tyson was named as the Defensive MVP of the Year in the Western Conference, after a stellar showing as a defensive back. His brother Jalen was also named to the Western Conference all-star team as a running back.
Both players are flex options for offence and defence. They are both defensive backs for the Seahawks, with Jalen playing as a running back on offence, while Tyson is a receiver.
Jalen had a big game for Seaquam against the Ravens, with two touchdowns on the ground.
Chand does like his nucleus of grade 11 and 12 players heading into next year. Although he believes that six or seven teams will once again be very competitive, he’s excited about the next crop of players.
“There’s going to be a lot of good teams next year, but we have a really good group of grade 11’s,” Chand said.
One of the names he mentioned was Khristian ‘Jello’ Juatco. The 5’7”, 235-pound power running back was named to the grade 11 all-star team, and he figures to be a key part of their team next season.
Aside from the Seahawks, Surrey and Delta had some other representation in the tripleheader of B.C. AAA high school football playoff games at B.C. Place on Saturday.
That representation south of the Fraser River culminated in one matchup earlier in the day.
The 5-2 South Delta Sun Devils faced off against the 5-1 Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers in a matinee matchup. In this one, league MVP quarterback Michael Calvert of the Sun Devils was too much to handle for the Panthers.
Three first-half touchdowns from Calvert helped the Sun Devils jump out to a 25-7 lead at halftime. The Panthers made it a one-score game at 25-17, but a late interception by Sun Devils defensive back Jalen Kirk solidified the victory for South Delta.
The Sun Devils are the only local team of the three to play in the Conference Finals next weekend at B.C. Place. They face off against the unbeaten New Westminster Hyacks on Saturday, Nov. 25th at 5 p.m.
The Terry Fox Ravens will play St. Thomas Moore Collegiate in the other matchup at 7:30 p.m.