Maleek Irons rushed for an incredible 491 yards and scored five touchdowns, including the dramatic game-winner as the W.J. Mouat Hawks ousted the Mt. Douglas Rams from the ranks of the undefeated on Saturday.
The No. 3-ranked Hawks out-gunned the No. 1-ranked defending Triple-A champion Rams of Victoria 52-49 at Mouat Field.
B.C. prep football insiders agreed after the game that it was very doubtful that anyone had ever put up numbers to match Irons, who went over the 2,000-yard rushing mark in his seventh game of the season.
Afterwards Irons, with blood seeping out from a wrap around his elbow after suffering a cut earlier in the game, and battling a flu, was more than happy his team was able to avenge its loss to the Rams in last season's Subway Bowl championship final.
"We had to tough it out, it was a big loss for us last year," said Irons. "I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders. I can finally sleep at night. It's going to be a good week."
In a game where in the second half the two teams took turns scoring four straight touchdowns of 47 yards or greater, it was good old-fashioned ball-control offence that wound up carrying the day.
Trailing 49-45, the Hawks slowed the game and went on a ball-control drive that ate over seven minutes off the game clock, culminating in Irons' nine-yard scoring run with 2: 31 remaining. Mouat's Stephen Baker and Matt Riley then each intercepted Rams' quarterback Ashton MacKinnon to preserve the win.
"It was almost better that we took that amount of time off the clock," Mouat head coach Denis Kelly said after. "We made them tackle us."
The 101 points scored between the two teams eclipsed by one point the 100 points the two teams put up last season during Mouat's regular season win in Victoria, making it one of the highest scoring games in provincial history. Irons' 47-yard run put Mouat ahead 38-35 and later a 55-yard dash made it 45-42 Mouat.
"Maleek was unbelievable," said Kelly of his Grade 11 tailback, who has now rushed for 2,004 yards and 30 touchdowns with three more league games remaining. "He just finds those seams and our line up front really moved [Douglas] on that last drive."
Mt. Douglas head coach Mark Townsend was gracious in defeat.
"Maleek Irons, is he ever the real deal. It was a great game that came down to the last minute. Collectively as a team we can learn from this."
Mouat also got a pair of rushing touchdowns from quarterback Mario Narte.