After a difficult season to this point, the Pemberton Grizzlies nabbed their first win of the year in convincing fashion.
The community football team overcame an early 8-0 deficit to rattle the Richmond Raiders 34-8 at home on Saturday in the Grizzlies' final game at Pemberton Meadows Field this season.
Head coach John Burleson was thrilled with the result, which brought Pemberton's record to 1-3 in a season where six games were lost due a combination of the provincial teachers' strike and teams not being able to make the trip to Pemberton because of financial constraints.
In the games they've been able to play, Burleson explained the Grizzlies have been hampered by slow starts — "turning it on from the middle of the third quarter."
"That's been our Achilles heel," Burleson acknowledged. "We came out and played four quarters.
"It was just about a perfect game."
Though it fell behind early once again, Pemberton was able to right itself with three touchdowns in the second quarter, never looking back.
Quarterback Kex Nelson played his role, throwing for 163 yards and four touchdowns. He added 123 yards rushing, including a touchdown scamper.
Two of the air-attack scores were to Wesley Finck, who caught two touchdowns. Younger players Reilly Cuttle and Zach Welton hauled in one touchdown apiece, giving Burleson a positive feeling for the team's future.
Burleson also raved about the Grizzlies' play on the defensive side of the ball, as the Raiders struggled to generate anything offensively after their early points.
"After that, Richmond did not generate positive yards," Burleson said. "Richmond could not move anywhere."
That was due in large part to seven sacks from the Pemberton defence, including two apiece from Ben Thompson and Mackenzie Graves. Finck, Jeremy Lacasamana, and Brett Hennessey added single quarterback sacks.
From a special teams perspective, Burleson had praise for punter/placekicker Robin Grylka, a Swiss exchange student.
"He could kick almost into their end zone every time, and they had a very long field all day," Burleson said. "His punts were great, he's done an amazing job all year long."
The Grizzlies will wrap their season Sunday in Richmond against the very same Raiders.
"It should be a good game," Burleson opined. "They'll be smarting a little.
"We'll be looking to finish the season with a big win."
Whistler Youth Soccer Club holds gala, hands out awards
The Whistler Youth Soccer Club's third annual gala was a resounding success.
The dinner, held at the Whistler Conference Centre on Oct. 25, saw 470 club members and their families attend. The evening raised over $7,000 for the club.
The WYSC handed out most improved player awards to one player from each team.
In the U10 girls' division, Madeline Pardoe, Felicity Cox, Georgia Huxtable and Maya Tennock were recognized, while Jet Wilson, Cayden McLauglin, Samuel Baker, Ben Unruh and Taylor Boehm were honoured in the U10 boys' division.
In the U12 girls' league, Maya Ferdinands, Shea Reed and Halle Duke were the recipients, as well as Matthew Susko, Ramon Espada, Felix Schnur and Andrew Salter on the boys' side.
Caitlin Hamilton and Ian Brett received the U14 co-ed awards, while other winners were Alyssa Richman (U14 girls' rep), Gabby Flynn (U15 girls' rep), Oskar Steiner (U15 boys' rep), and Nessa Schnur (U18 girls' rep).
Luke Ferdinands received the Coach of the Year Award, while Ian Davidson took home the Ref of the Year Award.