The GW Graham Grizzlies pulled off another upset win in their historic run to the AAA Grade 8 Football Championship.
After knocking off top-ranked Vancouver College last weekend, The first-year program defeated St. Thomas More from Burnaby 30-14 Tuesday night in Burnaby to qualify for the AAA Provincial Championship at BC Place on Dec. 1.
Running back Emilio Pineda had another huge game for the Grizzlies with 23 carries for 214 yards and three TDs. Fullback Jaren Lengert added 12 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown. Lengert, who normally plays on the offensive line, was moved to running back as a result of an injury to quarterback Wyatt Uzick. Uzick carried the ball twice for 58 yards before going down with an ankle sprain in the second quarter.
"Jaren was huge for us tonight, his addition as a running back allowed Emilio to have another great game," Grizzlies head coach Laurie Smith said.
Also contributing on offence was wingback Gabe Mannes with three carries for 34 yards. Mannes also had some electrifying punt returns, including one for a 54-yard touchdown that was called back by penalties. The offensive line-led by Jake Troyan, Devan Voss and Gibson Hardie-continued its stellar play in the playoffs opening holes for Pineda and Lengert.
The Grizzlies fell behind 148 at the beginning of the third quarter, but patiently ground out yards and slowly crawled back into the game.
After STM bottled up the offence in the first half, coaches Sean Roach and Jeff Samu-lak made crucial half-time blocking adjustments to create running lanes for Pineda and Lengert.
On defence the Grizzlies were once again led by outside linebacker Ethan Mas-tin, who made several great tackles and added a sack. The defensive line, including Liam McKormick, Michael Leng-ert and Jaimey Bessette, had a tremendous game for the Grizzlies, putting pressure on the STM quarterback though out the game. Corner Kobe Pool and linebacker Miguel Wood also had standout games for the Grizzlies.
"I'm very proud of the resiliency of these boys tonight" head coach Laurie Smith said. "They fought through some injuries and came together as a team in an impressive come from behind win."
? The Grizzlies face Notre Dame in the AAA Provincial Championship at BC Place on Dec. 1. For more information follow @grahamfootball on Twitter and Graham Football on Facebook.