Battle of the undefeateds ends with Windsor Dukes executing flawless game plan

Credit: Katie Burt, CFC

For a team with only 24 kids on their roster, the Windsor Dukes in the Western Conference had done everything in their power to have the perfect season and become the 2017 AA Provincial Champions in British Columbia.

They would not have it easy though as their opponent, the Abbotsford Panthers who moved back to AA after a brief stint at the AAA level, has also dominated their opponents all season long and were also undefeated in the Eastern Conference. But the Dukes would not be intimidated by this or the Panthers star back, CFC100 Samwel Uko, and beat soundly Abby, 44-29.

CFC100 Samwel Uko (1) Abbotsford Panthers (Credit: Katie Burt, CFC)

“We knew it was going to be a hard fought and tightly contested game; we expected it and were looking forward to the challenge of playing that type of game,” commented head coach for the Dukes, Jim Schuman. “We have played that Abbotsford team twice before – once this Sept and 2 years ago in the JV semi-final. We were familiar with them in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. There was no uncertainty about what we needed to strategically.”

Abbotsford would be first to score with just over 2 minutes to go in the first quarter. Just as we finished tweeting out that touchdown, the Dukes answered back immediately with a touchdown of their own plus a successful 2-pt convert taking the lead 8-7.

That being said, Abby would get a key 47-yard interception return by Uko that would set them up for a scoring drive which they capitalized on by running back Luke Szmutko who brought the score to 15-8 for the Panthers with over 8 minutes left to go in the half.

The Dukes would answer back with three back-to-back scores sending the teams to the locker room in the lead, 29-15. Quarterback Ryan Baker for the Dukes would score 2 touchdowns as well as a touchdown pass in this first half – and he wasn’t going to slow down in the second.

“We had just come off the field having scored 3 times in under 5 minutes to take the lead so we had momentum going into the half.  We were going to receive the ball so it was all about identifying what we need to do to have a good drive and what scoring plays we wanted to set up.  We discussed protecting the football, not turning the ball over and setting up an isolation hitch and go as the first passing opportunity,” explained Coach Schuman about what was said during the half.

“We didn’t execute the play properly when called and it was intercepted and led to a TD  Soon after we attempted it again and although it was not well executed our receiver Sean Werbowski came back to high point and take the ball out of the hands of the defender and take to the house.  No doubt the biggest play of the game.”

The Panthers would not score again until just over 5 minutes left in the game on a 4-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Ethan Anderson to Karl Van Einsiedel and the final score would be 44-29 for the Windsor Dukes, taking home the trophy for the 2017 AA BC Subway Bowl.

With five, yes five, onside kick recoveries for the Dukes, the battle for field position was clearly in their favor the whole game. With Uko not playing at 100% due to the fact that he was injured early on in the game and the Dukes game plan, the Panthers were unable to get back on track.

Head Coach Jim Schuman, Windsor Dukes (Credit: Katie Burt, CFC)

“We had contributions from everyone that contributed to the win. The O-Line did a great job blocking to allow us to run, both Ryan Baker and Ryan Werbowski ran the ball well, the defense played great. Sean Werebowski was the driving force behind the win – he led the team in tackles, executed the onside short kick 5 times and made that huge play on offense,” added Coach Schuman.

Windsor Dukes 2017 AA Provincial Champions (Credit: Katie Burt, CFC)

 

 

 

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