St. Thomas More's worst week of practice brought out the best in the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers.
Panthers running back Jamal Lyles, player of the week following a four-touchdown and 270-yard effort in Tweedsmuir's first-ever win over W.J. Mouat last weekend, put up big numbers again in a 21-0 shutout win over the Knights at Burnaby Lake-West on Saturday.
Lyles ran for almost 250 yards and three TDs against the No. 3-ranked Knights, who will no doubt swap places in the rankings when the high school polls come out this week.
"Our main goal is to win a championship," said Lyles, who opened the scoring on Tweedsmuir's second play from scrimmage, taking a direct snap off tackle and rambling 90 yards for a score.
"I can't do what I do without my front line," added Lyles, who also scored two touchdowns in the second half from 34 and 22 yards out.
It was also the Panthers' defensive front line which gave STM little running room all game long, holding the Knight's speedster Malcolm Lee to just 60 yards rushing.
STM's few successes moving the ball came via the pass downfield, mainly to Grade 11 receiver Andrew Flett, who had three catches for 54 yards in the first half.
Flett's three first-down receptions were all on drives that finally fizzled out inside the Panthers' 30-yard line.
The Knights' best chance to score came on a Drew Belgrave interception that he took down to the Tweedsmuir 21 yard line late in the second quarter.
But that drive too, resulted in a turnover on downs, despite an athletic one-handed attempt by Anthony Carteri to haul in an end-zone pass from Grade 11 starter J.J. DesLauriers with 22.1 seconds remaining.
Belgrave led the Knights with eight tackles, while Carteri was also very involved on the defensive side of the ball.
But despite sickness and the loss of starting quarterback Chase Malcolom, STM coach Bernie Kully was making no excuses for the shutout loss.
The inability to shut down the perimeter running game and not punch the ball in inside the red zone were disappointments after what Kully said was the team's worse week of practice.
"It was disappointing, when you stress it in practice and we don't execute it," Kully said. "It's not what we're used to."
Kully hopes with players coming back off injury the commitment to good training habits will also return.
This weekend, the 2-1 Knights are in Kelowna to take on the winless Owls.
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