A junior varsity receiver stole the show for Terry Fox Secondary and the blue banner is now within a feather's reach.
The Port Coquitlam school is heading to the 2021 B.C. provincial championship in its history after prevailing 27-12 over Notre Dame Regional Secondary (Vancouver) in the second of two semi-finals at BC Place tonight (Nov. 27).
Grade 10 student Renzel Arinaza was placed on the offensive line and worked to near perfection with Grade 11 quarterback Owen Sieben and Grade 12 running back Gavin Whittingham.
The trio could not be stopped in the air or on the ground for the Ravens in the victory against the Jugglers, combining for four touchdowns over four frames of AAA football.
"We've got some good Grade 10s that can play," said Terry Fox Head Coach Tom Kudaba in an interview post-game with the Tri-City News.
"As with all teams, you try to get them ready for the next game and you have them play up and dress up. We've got a lot of Grade 10s and 11s that can play. We're set for the next couple of years."
Owen Sieben with the toss Renzel Arinaza who breaks a tackle and takes it in for the touchdown!— BC HS Football (@BCHSFB) November 28, 2021
PAT is good!
Notre Dame - 0 | Terry Fox - 7 | 1st Quarter pic.twitter.com/31sAhcBgET
The younger core will be put to the test next weekend when the birds look to win their fourth provincial championship in school history.
If there's one thing that keeps Kudaba confident in their chances, it's in his team's ability to lift each other up when the gridiron hits them back.
"They don't defeat themselves," he explained.
"They may make a mistake every now and then and you just got to give them a pat on the back, but we can't change our personality. They are what they are, so we want to make sure they play the way they can. You got to give them the room sometimes."
One of Arinaza's scores was with 6:15 left in the first half after picking up a loose ball in the red zone when running back Gavin Whittingham fumbled to complete the play.
Renzel Arinaza picks up the bouncing ball and gets into the end zone, on a play that went exactly how they planned......— BC HS Football (@BCHSFB) November 28, 2021
PAT is Good!
Notre Dame - 6 | Terry Fox - 21 | 2nd Quarter pic.twitter.com/HM0C1Mz93B
A slight fourth-quarter scare put the Jugglers as close as the four-yard line.
However, an unfortunate placing by a referee in the end zone on fourth down prevented a completed pass and gave the Ravens the ball back.
Well, that was unfortunate 😳 @TFSAthletics gets the ball back after stopping Notre Dame’s 4th down attempt in the final 6min of regulation. The intended Jugglers’ receiver collided with the referee in the end zone | #PortCoquitlam @TriCityNews pic.twitter.com/jbTws0A2b4— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) November 28, 2021
Terry Fox ultimately held on for the win despite a fumble with under five minutes in regulation, improving the Ravens' overall record to 8-0 through regular season and playoffs.
Whittingham scored the other two touchdowns in the contest.
Kudaba also praised his defense for keeping Terry Fox at bay on the other side of the ball. However, he admits there will need some fine-tuning if the Ravens are to leave with the trophy.
"They let them [Notre Dame] score once each half, but there was a lot of opportunities for Notre Dame to get into the game and make it a little bit closer because of some of the inefficiency that we did. Now we can do some things on offense, but we made a lot of mistakes for some reason and we got to clean that up for the next game."
The possibility of two Tri-City schools meeting each other in the 2021 final was squashed earlier this evening.
Centennial Secondary was shut out 19-0 by G.W. Graham (Chilliwack), ending their underdog run to the championship a week after upsetting top-ranked Vancouver College 27-24 in the quarters.
This will be the second meeting of the year between the Ravens and Grizzlies. Terry Fox ran away with a 34-0 regular-season triumph on Oct. 22.
The BC AAA football coastal championship — also known as the Subway Bowl — is scheduled for next Saturday (Dec. 4) at BC Place Stadium.