It’s been 12 years since the Centennial Centaurs played for a Subway Bowl provincial football championship.
Saturday, the Centaurs took a huge step toward ending that drought with a stunning 27-24 upset of top-ranked Vancouver College at O’Hagan Field in Vancouver.
It was the first loss of the season for the Fighting Irish and Centennial’s victory sends the team to the Subway Bowl semifinals against the winner of the quarter-final game between Mt. Douglas and G.W. Graham that’s scheduled for Monday in Chilliwack.
But Saturday, Centennial coach Dino Geremia wasn’t worrying about that, or the fact that this year’s championship will be a regional affair because of transportation problems brought on by the flooding and highway closures from last week’s deluge of rain. When he took over the program in 2019, the team hadn’t won a regular season game in two seasons. And while it didn’t break that streak until the Centaurs defeated Abbotsford 49-8 back on Sept. 24, he said Saturday’s win is a testimony to his side’s perseverance and dedication.
“It took everyone coming together to achieve a win like this,” he said. “The coaches worked on a great game plan, the players believed in it and stuck with it all the way through.”
Sparked by a circus catch early in the game by Keyshawn Beswick, the Centaurs built a 21-7 advantage at halftime then dug in defensively through the second half as a determined Fighting Irish side did just that.
Beswick finished the game with six catches, three of them for touchdowns. He also had an interception and five tackles.
Running back Ziad Sabry carried the ball 21 times for 92 yards and one touchdown. He also had a tackle on defence.
Quarterback Malcolm Cameron completed 11 of his 20 passes for 190 yards, including the three strikes for majors to Beswick.
Centennial’s defence was led by Marcus Rafnson’s 10 tackles, one of them a sack and another a key stop when the Irish gambled on a fourth down. He also had an interception.
Tamani Duncan had seven tackles and one interception.
Geremia said he’s confident the Centaurs have yet to show their best.
“I truly believe we are improving,” he said. “We have an opportunity to clean some things up and get after it again next week in the dome.”
In the other semifinal, Port Coquitlam's Terry Fox Ravens will put its unbeaten record on the line against the Notre Dame Jugglers who defeated Lord Tweedsmuir, 21-7, on Saturday.
The winners of next week's semifinals will play for the Coastal AAA Subway Bowl championship on Dec. 4 at BC Place.