GOTW BC: CFC25 No. 11 Langley Saints out to “prove” themselves against the Robert Bateman Timberwolves

There is more riding on the game this Friday night in Abbotsford, British Columbia for the CFC25 No. 11 ranked team on the CFC25 National Small School Rankings, Langley Saints. Their opponent, the Robert Bateman Timberwolves, beat them last year, 17-14, in the last regular season game for the conference championship. Bateman would go on to play in the provincial AA Subway Bowl final against the CFC25 No. 3 Vernon Panthers, where they fell to a 48-12 loss.

That being said, both teams have something to prove – one to beat an opponent they haven’t been able to to date, and the other to start their regular season with a win and start their quest to get back to the provincial final and hoist that championship trophy over their head.


When we first reached out to the head coach of the Langley Saints, Rick Piche, we asked him about how they were going to prepare this week as we said they were ‘hot’ right now. He responded, “We feel we are doing well at this point, I agree, I am not sure I would call us hot per se, we are just executing well, but we know there is plenty of room to improve daily”.

Executing well is a little understated. The Saints are 1-0 in regular season play and 3-0 in non-conference matchups. Two of those non-conference games have been against AAA teams in former CFC50 Terry Fox where they upset them 28-7, and AAA Mission with a win of 34-6. They shutout AA John Barsby 49-0, and recently beat AA Holy Cross, 46-6 for their first regular season game.

“Responsible Redemption”. That is the message that is being echoed in the Saint’s locker room this week.

“The message we are trying to instill in the boys this week is “Responsible Redemption,” said Coach Piche. “The Redemption part is, we had an opportunity last year to beat Bateman, and we let it slip. As for the responsible party, we need to play perfectly responsible defense, and to know all of our responsibilities offensively.”

He goes on to say that Bateman’s offense is too good not to be responsible. They have the ability to put up big numbers on teams if you’re caught sleeping, as they have done with some of the teams they have played already. “We know it will be a long day for us if we do not play responsible football this week.”


Bateman on the other hand is 3-2 in non-conference play and will be starting their regular season with this matchup against the Saints. The Timberwolves shutout AAA Sulivan Heights 26-0, but then lost to AAA WJ Mouat, 21-18, and AAA Ballenas, 42-21. They regrouped and came out with two more wins against AA South Kamloops, 49-20, and AA Argyle, 42-13. Starting with a bye for their regular season, the Timberwolves should be ready to kick it into high gear if they aren’t already, and the messages should be loud and clear as to what they need to do to be successful on Friday.

Head coach David Mills of Robert Bateman said, “The message this week will be the same as every week, we need to be consistent, work to control the line of scrimmage, and limit our mistakes.  When we have gotten in trouble this year it is when we lose focus and make mental mistakes”.

He goes on to say that against a team like Langley, they can’t afford to have “mental busts” making the Saint’s life easier by giving them any extra yards or win the field position battle. He recognizes the strength in their offensive line and the stable of running backs that they boast, particularly Saint’s Kai Thomas who is averaging almost 13 yards per carry and is leading the league in rushing yards.

The key to Bateman coming out on top is going to be to shut down Thomas and the run game of Langley. “That is the bread and butter of this team. We need to play sound, physical, aggressive football on the defensive side of the ball and not give up the big chunk plays along the ground that they have grown used to getting,” said Coach Mills. 

The Timberwolves will need to maintain possession of the ball, sustain drives, and put continued pressure on the Saints for all quarters of the game down to the last whistle. There will be no taking the foot off the pedal in this one.

“If we can do that, and maybe jump out to an early lead, we’ve got a good chance,” added Coach.


Coach Mills will have to be a scheming master as he and his coaching staff work to contain the Saints. But they also have their own talent that the Saints will need to address or as stated above, it’s going to be a very long day indeed.

The front 7 of the Timberwolves will need to execute to perfection if it is to go their way.

“In the middle of our defensive line [CFC150] Connor Dueck and Brody Woods are both solid run defenders and will need to be on their game this week,” said Mills. “Inside linebackers Jack Weinkauf and Phoenix Moller have a big task this week and will surely be tested by the tough Langley offence.  Having Ty Martens back at Free Safety (after not playing much defense while battling a lower body injury through the first part of the season), will also be big for us.  He brings speed, confidence, and awareness to the back end of our defense.”

We reached out to Phoenix Moller who remembers the win against the Saints last year. “Last time we played them we beat them 17-14 for the conference championship,” he mentioned. “We’re trying to keep that momentum we started last year and make it back to the dome (BC Place).”

Moller is among the top 10 in rushing with 52 rushes for 358 yards, averaging 6.89 yards per carry, and 9 rushing touchdowns. He has also dominated on defense with 30 solos, 1 QB sack, and 2 fumble recoveries. He has had several notable performances that we have highlighted in our weekly ‘Notable Performances‘ article.

Limiting the amount of big plays they give up on defense, Moller echo’s his coaches’ sentiment about stopping the run as much as possible and be as physical as possible. He adds, “Offensively were trying to keep the ball moving on the air and the ground”. 

Quarterback Ty Martens has got his eye on the playoffs and working as a team to get back to the dome. Martens currently leads the AA division in passing. In 5 games played, he is 52/89, 886 yards, 9 passing touchdowns, and 1 interception. “This game will be the first time we play Langley since we beat them on a game-winning field goal to win the conference,” he said. He goes on to say the main goal is, again, stopping the run game, limiting big plays, and continue to move the ball both through the air and on the ground – “try to get multiple different players the ball in space to make plays”.

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The run game. We’ve spoken extensively about this run game that the Saints have executed. This is highlighted by running back Kai Thomas who leads the league in rushing. In 4 games played, he has 54 attempts for 693 yards, averaging 12.83 yards per carry – 173 yards per game, and 7 rushing touchdowns. He also has 20 solos, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 interception from his defensive position.

In terms of goals, I’ve set my goal for at least 2000 yards rushing by the end of the season and help my team push our way to win provincials,” said Thomas. He goes on to say, “This game is going to be special, because LSS lost last year and now we have something to prove. Also this is going to be a very well matched and competitive game”.

Coach Piche mentions Thomas plus a few other players to watch;

“We have several players that you should watch, grade 12 Kai Thomas who leads the league in rushing and is a very exciting and dynamic back. Grade 12 Harshaad Jouhal our fullback/defensive end is a spark plug on both sides of the ball, middle linebacker Ciaran Davies (Gr.12) who is your prototype middle backer and leads the team and is 2nd in the league in tackles. Lastly, our  offensive line anchored by Zach Rohan (Gr.12),  along with Declan da Luz (Gr.12), Dayton Boytillier (Gr.12), and Nolan McLeod (Gr.12).”


Jouhal is one of those running backs included in this dynamic run game. He is in the top 5 in the league in rushing with 35 attempts, 366 yards, averaging 10.46 yards per carry – 91.5 yards per game, and 6 rushing touchdowns in 4 games played. “Personal goals I have set this season, is to simply beat what I did last year. I was a Provincial Allstar Defensive End, now I want MVP,” he said.

“This game is special to a lot of us because of the game that happened last year. We want to prove to the nation, as well as the province, that we are a special team with special players,” he said. He added that his main emphasis this week is to simply “just execute”. “We need to execute in all aspects of the game (offence, defence, and specials).”

Middle linebacker Ciaran Davies is also looking forward to game time.

“This game holds a lot of value for the saints, last year the saints lost to Bateman in regular season, in the last play of the game bateman scored a field goal for the win, this loss cost the saints the playoff position they wanted, and we see this game as chance to get back at Bateman.”

Davies is in his senior year, and first year playing high school football in BC. He is currently leading the league defensively with 36 solos and 2 sacks, in 4 games played. His goal from the beginning of the season was simply to stand out. “Stand out for my work ethic, stand out for my passion, and stand out on the field,” he said. He goes on the mention that they have been working hard on limiting the penalties.

This seems to be the reoccurring theme – for both teams. This might be the cleanest, most disciplined game yet to come. Both teams seem to be well prepared and well aware of each others strengths and weaknesses, and just what they will need to do to excel on the former and expose the later.

For Coach Piche, containing the quarterback and limit the running backs is going to be key. “We will need to continue moving the ball the way we have been doing all year. We know this will be a very big challenge as Bateman’s defense is very good.”

Kickoff is at 2:30pm at Robert Bateman high school in Abbotsford, BC. If you can’t get there, you can follow Katie Burt on twitter @KatieBurt_CFC, as she will be there live with all the action.

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