It was a tough game Saturday versus a very strong Rutland Secondary School Voodoo football team. Each year The Rutland Voodoo seem to match the Varsity Highlanders blow for blow and this year was no exception.
The Highlanders started out of the gate with a strong performance stopping the Rutland Voodoo’s first drive, but exceptional punting by the Rutland Voodoo kicker left the Highlanders pinned back at their 1-yard lane. The offensive holding the end-zone resulted in a two-point safety. The Highlanders from that point were always fighting back to take the lead from the Voodoo but couldn’t.
This game was about resiliency. The Highlanders fought from the start of the game to the end, but mistakes and miss opportunities were once again the story of this game. Missed tackles, dropped passes, poor run blocking and poor tackling all ended up hurting the Varsity Highlanders chances for a win.
The Rutland Voodoo quarterback Jhavoun Blake was an offensive juggernaut. He easily scampered for three plus touchdowns and split the defense easily at times on the quarterback sneak. The Rutland Voodoo have a special player in Jhavoun Blake and they seized every opportunity to use him effectively.
Offensively for the Highlanders quarterback Ben Welsh was facing heavy pressure from the Voodoo defensive line all game. Even with a sore throwing elbow, Ben Welsh was able to go 13 for 34 for 234 yards passing with three touchdowns and one interception. Ben Welsh was able to connect with Matt Lane and impressive eight times for an incredible 208 yards and two touchdowns.
On defense there were some shining moments for the Highlanders. The Rutland Voodoo had their passing attack stymied by the Highlander defense. Unfortunately, the Highlanders could not stop the Voodoo on the ground effectively and that is where most of their offence and scoring came from all afternoon. Matt Lane not only shined on offence but was also a terror for the Voodoo on defense recording six tackles. First Year linebacker Harry Waddell stunned the crown with an amazing interception for a touchdown when the Highlanders had the Voodoo pinned deep in their own end.
This is a long season and the commitment level of the team is still not where the coaches need it to be. In past years other Varsity Highlander teams might squabble with each other or not gel as a team, but they were always committed to being at practice and giving 100% effort. This year’s Highlanders are a bit challenged when it comes to commitment and fitness and it shows of the field with sloppy play at the wrong times and getting tired and losing stream when they need it the most.
Next up for the Varsity Highlanders is another very strong run-based team in the Nanaimo District Islanders.
Pride ~ Respect ~ United
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