GOTW BC: A rematch of last year’s thriller, CFC50 No. 29 New Westminster Hyacks look for redemption against CFC50 No. 49 Notre Dame Jugglers

A rematch of last year’s thrilling game between CFC50 No. 29 New Westminster Hyacks and the CFC50 No. 49 Notre Dame Jugglers is what we’ve got cooking for the CFC50 GOTW on Friday, September 27th at Mercer Stadium in New Westminster, British Columbia. This is bound to be another exciting match as we know New West wants redemption and the Jugglers would love to repeat that win they had in the dying moments of the game.


Every year is different with a new group of people. Last year we took advantage of a few senior key athletes who played very well. Also we benefitted from New West being without their starting QB and a few other key players. This year we are young and will hopefully improve as the season goes on,” said head coach of the Notre Dame Jugglers, Denis Kelly. 

The Jugglers have started off on the right foot for the regular season (1-0) with their shutout win against Belmont, 44-0. However, they lost to newly ranked Abbotsford (CFC50 No. 47) 20-16. Their other win was a non-conference game against St. Thomas More (Burnaby) which they won 14-3.

The Hyacks on the other hand started their non-conference games with a loss against CFC50 No. 10 Lord Tweedsmuir, 15-6, and then proceeded to get it together with a shutout against GW Graham 40-0. The beat CFC50 No. 42 Mt. Doug, 33-21, to open their regular season.

Head Coach of the Hyacks, Farhan Lalji said that his players learned a valuable lesson in that game last year in that they can never let up, they have to keep fighting to the end.

“We got down, made a great comeback and had all the momentum, and one of their players (Wil Clarke) refused to give in. So this game, like most in our conference, will come down to the final few minutes and we need to stay mentally strong throughout.”

Lalji believes that if they can win the battle in the trenches and control the line of scrimmage, they will have a good chance of coming out on top of this one. “This isn’t a game where our system can fool anyone, because they run the same system, so we need to win up front. Notre Dame is very well coached on both sides of the ball and their kids will compete hard up front, they always do, so we need to match,” he said.

However, Coach Kelly believes that the Jugglers have to be able to control the Hyack’s Wing-t, which has its own challenges. In addition, he mentioned, “We need to block and tackle well for the whole game. We need to make some big plays to keep us in the game”.

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Big plays, tough battles, and intricate schemes will all play a part for both teams. CFC100 athlete Taran Birdi for the Hyacks remembers well what happened last year and said that he is looking at this year’s team as a whole new team, and this game, a whole new game.

“It’s important to get the team confident going into this week and focusing on improving as a whole and continuing to encourage one another to perform to our best ability,” he said. “I am constantly motivating and encouraging my teammates to always be putting out their full effort and to treat each play like it’s of the utmost importance. Also not to dwell on mistakes, but rather to learn from them and try to get it right the next time.”

Teammate CFC100 Austin Galbraith also states that they really need to focus on working as a team and to make sure that everyone is doing their job. They need to rally against small “slip ups” and not get rattled by them should they happen.

Galbraith was injured last year during that game which has given him extra motivation to make an impact this time around. “I want to focus on my assignments and treat this game like any other. Last game was last game so I just need to play to my full potential and things should go well,” he said.

“My teammates know what it’s going to take to come out on top Friday, so as a leader I’m just going to constantly remind them to stay focused and make sure they practice with high tempo and energy throughout the week.”

CFC100 Pavan Kainth added, “Top three points of emphasis are to execute our game plan, to preform to the best of our ability and to play disciplined.“

“We will need to play as a team to get the win in the end.”

Taran and Austin were both participants in the CFC Prospect Game that was broadcast on TSN earlier in June and two players that Coach Lalji says to look out for, among others.

“Pavan Kainth, Vishaan Narayan and Owen Stark have had a very strong start to the season and have been the key to our defensive front 7. All are physical and play with high energy. We are also very pleased with our skill guys, led by Greyson Planinsic, Austin Galbraith and Taran Birdi. All are explosive, dynamic players who have made an impact in all 3 phases so far.”

On the Notre Dame side, Coach Kelly points out, “Key players for us are linebackers (CFC100) Ian Marin, and Vincenzo Nardulli, QB Carmelo Renzullo, Rec/DB Matt Battad and linemen Anthony Bolanos and Xavier Venkataya”.

CFC100 Ian Marin also played in the CFC Prospect Game with Taran and Austin and said that the biggest point of emphasis this week in practice was to watch the guards. “New West has perfected the Wing T offence and are really strong so we can’t get caught watching the back field.”

What should we expect from the Hyacks? Birdi said we should expect “a show” and to see a team that looks together and working for a championship season while Marin states that we can expect hard hitting plays, and a lot of offense consisting of runs.

One things is for sure, we are looking forward to this one. Kickoff is at 7:30pm PST at Mercer Stadium on Friday, Sept. 27th.

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