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PHOTOS: Ravens ground Centaurs in thrilling Coquitlam Cup football showdown

Terry Fox Ravens finished its regular season with a perfect 7-0 record, while Centennial fell to 4-3.

The scoreboard at Percy Perry Stadium at the end of Friday’s Centennial Cup between crosstown football rivals the Terry Fox Ravens and Centennial Centaurs read 28-24 for the Ravens.

But it said much more than that, according to Terry Fox coach Tom Kudaba.

As much as the score preserved the Ravens’ perfect 7-0 regular season, Kudaba said, the hard-fought win against a tough and determined opponent showed his team it has the fortitude it needs for success in the upcoming BC High School Secondary Schools Football Association playoffs.

“What we learned about our team was that we were able to come from behind and eventually win,” Kudaba said. “We are finally starting to develop a type of character the team needs to enter the playoffs, since there are no easy games there.”

At no point in the game, played before a packed grandstand on a chilly night, did the Ravens’ character show more than Mathieu Gale’s electrifying 90-yard kick-off for a touchdown return early in the second half immediately after Centennial had punched into the Terry Fox end zone for a major to take the lead.

“He was the guy who ‘woke’ us up,” Kudaba said of the sprightly receiver who finished the game with three touchdowns. “That was the moment we started to show out character.”

Also powering the Ravens’ victory were quarterback Owen Sieben, who completed 12 of his 24 passes for 246 yards, and running back Gavin Whittingham, who carried the ball 25 times for 87 yards.

While Terry Fox hasn’t lost a Coquitlam Cup game since 2011 (last year’s game wasn’t played because of COVID-19 public health restrictions), Kaduba said the resurgence of Centennial’s football program is encouraging.

“It is important for the development of the game of football to have strong competitive programs everywhere and nobody wants to see ongoing domination between schools and teams.”

Centennial, which also qualified for the post-season after finishing its season with four wins and three losses, was led by quarterback Malcolm Cameron. He went 12-for-18 through the air for 143 yards. Receiver Keyshawn Beswick pulled down five of those passes, including one for a touchdown.

The Centaurs will host Belmont in a wild card game this Friday, 4 p.m., at Percy Perry Stadium.