The Bellerose Bulldogs were no pushovers against the reigning Carr conference champions in Thursday’s high school football game at Riel Recreation Park.
Winless in two close contests, the Bulldogs rose to the challenge to knock off the Bev Facey Falcons 22-21. It’s the first win by the Bulldogs against the powerful Sherwood Park team since the Bellerose Storm Dogs pulled off the feat more than 10 years ago in the metro Edmonton league.
“It’s a monkey off our backs to beat Facey and get in the win column,” said a relieved head coach Chad Hill. “This is such a competitive league so we’ll use this game as a confidence booster to help us prepare for a hungry Shep team next week.”
Thursday the Bulldogs host the Ross Sheppard Thunderbirds (0-2) at 7:30 p.m. in St. Albert. Admission is $5.
In the first quarter Facey (2-1), ranked ninth provincially in Tier I (1,250-plus students), turned the ball over on their first two possessions as Dylan Shorten intercepted a pass and the punt team recovered a fumble.
Facey opened the scoring with a nine-yard touchdown pass with 3:57 left in the quarter.
The Bulldogs answered with a five-yard run by Tyler Feltis two minutes into the second quarter. The TD was set up by a 61-yard catch and run by Seth Waselenchuk from a Matty Short delivery.
Facey regained the lead with a 14-yard TD catch with 1:43 left until halftime.
After the kickoff, on first down the Bulldogs botched the exchange and Facey recovered the ball at the Bellerose 28. The Bulldogs dug deep and Facey went on to miss a 37-yard field goal with 80 seconds remaining until the break.
In the last minute, a booming punt by Nick Cowan pushed Facey back into their end, followed by a joint quarterback sack by Dean Ciampanelli and Kirk Robinson to wrap up the half.
In the third quarter the Bulldogs capped off a drive with Feltis’ second TD of the night. The Grade 11 running back picked up the slack offensively with Jackson Ryan and Nick Svenson out with injuries.
“He had to carry the load and he did. I’m very happy for him. This should be a confidence booster. We’ve had some pretty good running backs in this program and he is as talented as any of them,” Hill said.
A fake punt from inside Facey territory kept the drive going on Feltis’ TD. Grade 12 rookie Jacob Kaup took a direct snap from Shorten and rumbled 30 yards to the six.
“I told Kaup that play was a difference maker. When special teams fakes are executed it’s a huge momentum swing and when they don’t it’s a huge momentum swing for the opposition,” Hill said.
Facey replied with a one-yard quarterback sneak following a long run by the team’s big fullback.
In the fourth quarter Short, who was hit several times by the blitz-happy Facey defence, showed poise in the pocket from the Bellerose six to hook up with running back-turned-receiver Tyler Thorsley for a mighty catch and run TD. Cowan’s convert tied it at 21.
With under six minutes to go the Bulldogs moved the ball with chunks of yards from Feltis. On third down Connor Hughes attempted a field goal from inside the 20. He was wide of the posts but the ball sailed out of the endzone for a single point.
A wild finish included Facey jumping off side on a hard count during a Bulldogs’ punt and Feltis came through on third and three from the Facey 20 with over a minute to play. A roughing penalty to Facey put the ball at the one and the Bulldogs took three knees to end the game.
Facey was unable to get untracked offensively in the fourth quarter as the front four of Ciampanelli (recovered a third quarter fumble), Robinson, Jack Hanna and Jacob Neuls caused chaos in the backfield with multiple sacks and stops.