After a massive win over the weekend, the Seaquam Seahawks are dusting off a space in their school’s trophy case that hasn’t seen gold for a decade.
The Seahawks defeated the Vernon Panthers 35-15 to claim the provincial senior varsity double A high school football championship at BC Place on Saturday, Dec. 3, the school’s first since 2006.
For retiring Seaquam coach Jerry Mulliss, it’s the best way he could have ended his 49-year career.
Mulliss gathered his team and thanked them for the most memorable night of his career. They roared and cheered in response, helmets clutched above their heads.
Of course, he said, the evening’s victory was “for the kids.”
From the start, the Seahawks were a force to be reckoned with. On the Seahawks’ first snap, running back Jalen Philpot carried the ball for a 50-yard run up the right side of the field.
The Panthers’ defence finally stopped him right before the goal line, but Philpot still scored a touchdown at second and inches, finishing what he started.
That kind of agile scoring presaged the all-Philpot show to come, for which the humble 16-year-old was quick to credit his teammates.
“My line created huge holes for me,” he said.
The Panthers’ first possession didn’t last long thanks to a huge interception courtesy of Tyson Philpot (pictured), Jalen’s twin brother.
Shortly after, Tyson received a pass from quarterback Josh Haydu and ran it in for another major, putting the Seahawks up 14-0 to end the first quarter.
In the third quarter, Jalen again stepped into the end zone to make it 28-0.
UBC Thunderbirds 2017 first-pick Ben Hladik scored a pair of touchdowns for the Panthers and Riley Bos added a two-point conversion, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Seahawks’ march to victory.
Mulliss said the late Panthers touchdowns were nothing to be scared of.
“If you saw the way the kids were playing, if you saw the way they were in the dressing room before the game, there was no way they were gonna lose,” Mulliss said.
“I told them it was your one chance to be here – just don’t be denied.”
At the end of the night, Jalen Philpot was named the game’s MVP.
“I feel like my whole team deserved it,” he said.
Though it may be the end of the road for Mulliss, this Seahawks team will go on. The Philpot brothers, like many of their teammates, are still in grade 11, meaning they, and we, have another year of exciting Seahawks football to look forward to.
The Seahawks try to stop a Vernon Panthers receiver during the senior varsity double A provincial championship game at BC Place on Dec. 3. The Seahawks beat the Panthers 35-15. Photo credit: Kier Junos