A well-rounded game has got them this far.
The St. Thomas More Knights launched the B.C. Subway Bowl playoffs on Friday by downing the Nanaimo Islanders 27-14, picking up their fifth straight win.
It catapults the Burnaby squad into Friday’s quarterfinals against the Mount Douglas Rams – who, like the Knights, offer up a potentially explosive blend of offensive weapons.
“I was going to say they’re almost a mirror image (of us),” remarked STM head coach Steve De Lazzari. “I think, along with (No. 1) Lord Tweedsmuir, they’ve got a lot of ways to break a game open and are truly a threat whether by throwing or running.”
The match-up gets underway Friday, 4 p.m. at Burnaby Lake West turf.
To get past the Islanders, STM used its full complement of tools with a quick start for a 14-0 first quarter lead.
Julian Valerio opened the scoring on the team’s second possession, breaking free for a 40-yard touchdown run. It was followed two possessions later by a 50-yard pass by quarterback Dario Ciccone to Gabe Nicario, putting the Knights in firm control.
They’d up their lead to 27-0 with majors by Ciccone, with a seven-yard dash in the third quarter, and a 10-yard reception by Rickey Parsons, before Nanaimo got on the board.
The visitors took advantage of a brief loss of focus to put up two majors late in the game.
Making his return as a starter on both offensive and defensive lines was 2017 Defensive Player of the Year Sam Steele, who counted nine tackles.
Leading all STM tacklers were Colin Dalla Vecchia, with 12, and Daniel Auld, with 11.
Mt. Doug advanced to the quarter-finals by beating Kelowna 35-7, a team the Knights blasted 51-14 two weeks ago in the Okanagan.
The Rams have an abundance of weapons too, led by senior pivot Gideone Kremler, who threw for 15 touchdowns on the year prior to the playoffs.
“They will be a well-balanced team led by an outstanding quarterback,” said De Lazzari. “They’ve got two outstanding receivers (in Dante Carbone and Sam Mosky), so it’s going to be a really tough test.”
STM’s secondary, however, has its own two-way speedsters in Michael Simone and Vasco Repole.
“Definitely, our pass defence has been one of our strengths this year, so I’m pretty confident in our speed and skill,” noted the coach.
The winner will advance to the B.C. Subway Bowl semifinals at B.C. Place.