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Abby’s dominance over ‘Jays continues

Abby’s dominance over ‘Jays continues Abby’s dominance over ‘Jays continues

Carpenter TD leads to sixth straight win

It’s not surprising to anyone that has watched the Abbotsford Falcons play to see they love to run the football.

The Falcons have pounded opponents into submission with a punishing run game, often featuring at least one bellcow back that leaves defenses trailing in their wake and year after year Abby has produced thousand yard backs.

But on Friday it was a catch and run from Mason Carpenter that gave Abby a 28-22 come from behind victory over Athens, their sixth straight over the ‘Jays.

“We thought they’d play off because we were only on the 15-yard-line. It was our chance to throw the quick pass,” Falcons head coach Jake Knapmiller said. “Mason made one heck of a play after he caught the ball.”

But before you think Knapmiller or Abby is going to deviate from their bread and butter ground attack, rest assured, some things remain the same.

Like a stifling Abbotsford defense.

The Falcons held an Athens Bluejays squad that was coming off a 44-35 victory over Pacelli to just three scores on Friday, and forced several turnovers, including a strip by Martin Aguilera that stopped a promising Athens drive.

It was a disjointed game with so many turnovers - seven fumbles and two interceptions between the two teams, but it was the ‘Jays who got on board first with a 37-yard rushing touchdown with 2:46 in the first quarter.

Athens did not have long to celebrate. Cade Faber killed their joy with a 53 yard scoring run just 15 seconds later, and a PAT by Aguilera made it 8-7 after one quarter of play. Faber led Abby with 106 yards. Hunter Soyk added 57 yards.

The ‘Jays continued to move the ball in the second quarter, and Athens QB Cooper Diedrich broke free and appeared on his way to the endzone before he met a freight train called Martin Aguilera.

Aguilera tackled Diedrich, ripped the ball out of his hands, and rumbled down to the goal line before being tackled.

“Martin is a dude. He has worked so hard to become what he is as part of a team. He told me this summer he was going to have a strip and score.”

On the very next play the Faber punched through the Bluejays to give Abby a 13-0 lead entering the break. The ‘Jays went on a methodical drive in the third quarter to regain the lead at 16-13.

Athens went up by two scores early in the fourth off a 16-yard pass from Diedrich to Aiden Janke that made it 22-13.

The Falcons forced a fumble near midfi eld and then proceeded to run down to the Red Zone. Knapmiller dipped into his bag of tricks and had Soyk throw a pass over the middle to Carpenter, who evaded would be tacklers for the touchdown.

Aguilera’s PAT was good, but with six minutes left Athens got the ball back. The Falcons forced a fourth and short situation, and the ‘Jays gambled, going for it, but Abby stood firm and took over on downs with four minutes to play.

“That was huge. I was surprised they didn’t punt, but I guess that is a credit to our offense so far in the game,” Knapmiller said. “That was the huge boost we needed to finish them off.”

Abby chewed up the clock, and with just a minute to go in the game, Hunter Soyk dove into the endzone for the goahead touchdown. The two point conversion was good, and Abby was up 28-22.

With under a minute to play, the ‘Jays were forced to air the ball out, which resulted in a Diedrich sack by Aguilera and an interception by Carpenter that sealed the deal and improved Abby to 2-2.

Those turnovers, along with the crucial fourth down stop late in the game, are a sign of the progress Abby has made.

“We were very evenly matched teams, but turnovers are a great equalizer sometimes,” Knapmiller stated. “We both saw our fair share of them. Our special teams and passing game picked us up. ”

After their 15-0 defeat by Marathon, it was the sort of turnaround Knapmiller wanted to see, especially with an unbeaten and well rested Colby team coming up this Friday. It will be the two teams first meeting since 1967.

“We needed to play well after the Marathon disaster. We played better, but some glaring things need to be taken care of by both players and coaches in order to have a chance against a great team like Colby.”