Labour Day weekend offered perfect weather for minor football and the North Langley Bears took advantage of the sunny, warm conditions.
Facing Chilliwack White Saturday at McLeod Athletic Park, the atom Bears (eight- and- nine-year-olds) out-scored their opponents 40-13 during the first half.
Jun McLean led the offence by running for three touchdowns over the game, including a scamper of more than 45 yards.
Other touchdown scorers for the Bears included Callum Middleton, Marcus Stang, Brian Pol and Mathieu Gale.
Tyson Hoy kicked two two-point conversions.
Koan Zieger, Jordan Williams and Jacob Evans also made some great gains on the ground to keep the ball moving.
On defence, Jaxon Stebbings made some strong tackles, some of them touchdown stoppers.
Aaron Liddle knocked down a pass and Chris Morrison sacked the Chilliwack quarterback.
The Bears held the opposition to three touchdowns to win by a score of 54-20.
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On Labour Day Monday, the atom Bears faced Chilliwack Red Giants in Chilliwack.
McLean opened the scoring late in the first quarter for the Bears when he ran in on a third down and one yard play on the Giants' 40-yard line
A Stebbings tackle forced a turnover on downs.
McLean scored again on the Bears next possession.
McLean recovered the ensuing kickoff to retain Bears possession and North Langley held on to possession for the rest of the half, thanks to strong running by Mathieu Gale and others.
On the first play of the second half, Callum Middleton ran for a 70-yard touchdown.
Stebbings continued to make big stops on defence in the second half while Jason Diebert also made a key tackle.
Gale took the ball to the house on the next Bears' possession.
Marcus Stang scored another Bears major on the first play of the fourth quarter and Brian Pol ran in for the extra point.
Koan Zieger made a long run to the Giants' 21-yard line.
Jordan Williams took it in from there for another Bears major, making the final score 38-0 for the Bears.
The 10- and- 11-year-old peewees battled against the Meadow Ridge Knights but came up short against a team with a much larger roster.
Brandon Brynjolfson ran the ball well for the Bears, often making strong gains against a stingy Knight defence.
Samuel Arachi also ran hard on kick returns for the Bears.
The Bears' defence also faced a strong Knight attack while North Langley tacklers Aiden Halloway, Emerson Block, Josh Patrick and Brodie Tarling tried to shut down the surging Knights.
In the end, the Knights won 33-0.
Junior bantam Bears
The Bears (ages 12-13) were up against a powerhouse team from Abbotsford but gave the Falcons a run for their money.
Each team had five touchdowns - the difference in the score came down to the ability to convert them, and the Bears ended up on the short end of a 34-31 score.
The Bears had difficulty stopping the Falcons' passing game.
The Falcons couldn't stop the Bears running attack. The first touchdown of the game was by North Langley Bear Pablo Wigwigan, who was playing his first football game ever
Wigwigan made numerous other big runs as a running back over the game, and a second major, for a sensational debut.
The other big runner for the Bears was returning player Zander Bailey, who scored three touchdowns for the Bears, including a kick return touchdown that brought North Langley within a point of the Falcons at halftime, at 20-19.
Bailey also helped out on defence with an interception he returned for 40 yards to set up for the Bears' second scoring drive.
North Langley's defence also made it tough for the Falcons with strong tackling by Caleb Paraboo, Jacob Stebbing, Ryan Barthelson, and Jake Evans
Evans had a strong game on the defensive line, constantly pressuring the Falcons' quarterback, especially during the second half.
North Langley's bantams (ages 14-15) met the Meadow Ridge Knights with a determined defensive effort.
The Bears held the Knights to two touchdowns in the first half and made it to the red zone late in the half but the clock ran out before they could score.
The Knights added another major in the third quarter and then in the fourth quarter, the Bears scored on a pass to Ian Canning from Darian Pritchard, topped off with a two-point conversion run by Kenzie Oram.
Brandon Sang was the workhorse for the Bears' offence, compiling well over 100 yards in the Bears' 21-8 loss.
Colton Pierce also broke through the Meadow Ridge line for major rushing gains.
Won Jae Boo had a strong game on the ground, highlighted by a run in which he broke four or more tackles before finally being hauled down by a gang of Knights
Strong tackling by Taryn Taylor, Cameron Sparkes, Tyler Aasen, Sang, and Boo helped keep the Knights to three touchdowns.
The Bears (ages 16-18) were up against last year's provincial champions, the White Rock Titans, in their first game of the season.
In fact, this marked the first game for North Langley midget football since 2009 so the newly constituted Bears team was eager to be tested.
The Titans showed their muscle in winning 44-7.
The Bears received the opening kickoff and almost made it out of their own zone on strong running by Mook Kim and David Fredo.
The Titans responded with a 27-yard play heading towards the end zone but the ball carrier was tackled by safety Adrian Clements
White Rock scored two plays later and quickly went ahead 17-0 on a punt return touchdown and field goal.
In the second quarter, the Bears started having more success with David Fredo making some spectacular catches on passes from Braeden Pritchard and Kim determinedly burrowing through the Titan defence
Within three yards of the end zone on a third down run attempt, Fredo was turned back by the Titan defence.
On the ensuing play, the Bears were within inches of tackling the Titan runner for a safety.
Early in the second half, with the Bears down 31-0, the North Langley crowd was electrified by a 60-yard pass-and-run play from Pritchard to Fredo, with Fredo tackled on the four yard line
Several plays later Kim took the ball in for the major and Chris Baerg kicked the extra point for the Bears.
The Bears continued to give chase to the Titans for the rest of the game, with strong tackling by Eric Boomars, Damon Vassos, Alain Velo, Fredo and Clements.