Barsby Bulldogs running back Tyler Harvey is tackled by Carson Graham Eagles opponent Andrew Liu during the Subway Bowl on Saturday at B.C. Place stadium.

Barsby Bulldogs running back Tyler Harvey is tackled by Carson Graham Eagles opponent Andrew Liu during the Subway Bowl on Saturday at B.C. Place stadium.

Barsby Bulldogs take a chance, win championship

John Barsby Secondary School's AA varsity football team defeated the Carson Graham Eagles 21-20 on Saturday at B.C. Place.

The Barsby Bulldogs won the provincial championship in breathtaking fashion in the final moments of the fourth quarter.

John Barsby Secondary School’s AA varsity football team defeated the Carson Graham Eagles 21-20 on Saturday evening in the Subway Bowl at B.C. Place stadium.

The ‘Dawgs scored a touchdown with a minute and a half left, and instead of kicking an extra point to tie the game, decided to go for two and try to go get a championship. They got into the endzone and then the defence was able to run the opposition out of time just as the Eagles had gotten into field-goal range.

Saturday’s final was a one-score game the entire way, but the favoured Bulldogs never led until the very end. Carson struck first to lead 7-0 after one quarter and 13-7 at halftime and the game was 13-13 heading into the fourth quarter.

“This is the most resilient team I’ve ever played with,” said Kyle Vollet, who scored the game-winning two-point convert. “We could be down by 20 and this team, we’re going to come back to the huddle, we’re going to look at each other and say, we’ve got this, we can do this.”

North Rainey scored Barsby’s first touchdown on a one-yard run in the second quarter and Kalven Kellock caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from Brody Taylor in the third quarter.

The Eagles had all the momentum late in the fourth quarter, scoring a go-ahead touchdown with seven minutes left and then intercepting a pass a minute later. Barsby’s D forced a turnover on downs at midfield, though, to give its offence the ball with three and a half minutes left. Taylor connected with Cole Virtanen for a 34-yard touchdown pass, setting up Barsby’s big decision to go for two.

“I turned around and asked the coaches, you guys want to win this thing?” said Rob Stevenson, coach of the Bulldogs. “They said, yeah, let’s go do it, so we dialled ‘er up and did it.”

On the critical play, Vollet got slowed up but kept his feet moving and just managed to break the plane.

As the Eagles tried to hurriedly line up for a game-winning field goal with one second left, time ticked off and the referees signalled game over.

“They said it’s over, this game’s over. I looked at the scoreboard again, just to make sure we got it done,” said Brendan Bruce, Barsby lineman. “We did it.”

The Bulldogs sprinted over to the sideline to celebrate with fans, some literally jumping for joy into the stands.

“I’m bubbling,” said Stevenson. “I feel like I could be Maria, swinging around in the meadows of the Swiss Alps right now singing the Sound of Music theme.”

He accepted the championship banner alongside injured tailback Brandon Parker, who got into the game briefly on the last series. Taylor was selected the game’s Top Offensive Back and Tyler Harvey was chosen Top Lineman. Carson’s A.J. Blackwell was the MVP.

Russell Tolentino, Blackwell and Lucas Bill scored touchdowns for the Eagles. Harvey led his team’s defence with 10 tackles and Shawn Arabsky made eight tackles.

Taylor said Barsby’s victory was a reward for hard work.

“Everyone lives and breathes football,” he said. “Everyone was willing to do whatever it took this season to win a championship.”

sports@nanaimobulletin.com