Sunday’s match between the Victoria Spartans and visiting North Surrey Bears ended in a flood of disappointment for the hosts as the Bears won 16-10 at Westhills Stadium in Langford.
It was the final game of the midget (ages 16 to 18) Vancouver Mainland Football League regular season. The Spartans finish tied for third with four other clubs at seven wins and three losses and earn a first-round bye this weekend. They'll host a quarterfinal playoff game Saturday, Nov. 17, 3 p.m. at Westhills Stadium.
With the win on Sunday, the Bears (6-4) snapped a three game losing streak.
"It was a tough one to lose, a hard fought game," said Spartans coach Paul Mulholland.
"North Surrey came prepared, probably hungry because they’d lost three in a row. We might have peaked a little emotionally last week beating the (previously undefeated) White Rock Titans, that was such a big game."
North Surrey scored first on Sunday, a touchdown and conversion to go up 7-0 in the first quarter.
Spartans kicker Mike Peverelle hit a 26-yard field goal to make it 10-3. Derek Morgan capped a drive by the Spartans when he ran it in from the two-yard line to make it 10-7 for the home side.
But North Surrey clawed back with a touchdown in the third quarter, though the two-point conversion was foiled by the Spartans’ defence.
A field goal for the Bears made it 16-10 at the end of the third quarter.
And then it rained.
Flash floods tested the high quality artificial turf, which held solid beneath the players, soaked as it was.
Under the pelting rain, and with the two-minute warning having sounded, receiver Taylor Young nearly stole the game for the Spartans.
Quarterback Lowell MacDonald’s 20-yard pass bounced from the hands of an unknown player right into the arms of Young on the sideline. Young scrambled to midfield and looked like he would score when he was brought down at the two-yard line, a 50-yard gain.
Unlike their earlier touchdown, this time the Spartans couldn’t finish the play. They exhausted all three downs without crossing the goal line.
“We weren't able to punch it in,” Mulholland said.
The game marked the return of Spartans quarterback Brett Johnson, who played a few minutes as he’s on the mend from a broken leg suffered early in the season. His replacement, MacDonald, who has done an admirable job this season, was suffering an ankle injury on Sunday.
Both will relish the recovery timed earned with the Spartans' first-round bye this weekend. Twelve of the 14 teams make the playoffs, with the top four getting a first round bye.