All season long, John Martins’ White Rock-South Surrey Titans have played football while following a simple mantra:
“One team, one goal, one family.”
Now, they can add “one championship” to that list, after defeating the Coquitlam Falcons 36-13 Sunday at Langley’s McLeod Park to claim the midget team’s first-ever provincial title.
Not only is it the first B.C. crown for a White Rock midget team, it’s just the second for the entire Titans’ association; the first came in 1992 when the junior bantam team – oddly enough, coached by Martins – won a provincial title.
“It was good, a really good game,” Martins said of his second championship win as coach. “Coquitlam is a really good ball club, but we just played a very good game.”
The win capped a perfect season for the Titans, who never lost a single game all year. They rolled through the Vancouver Mainland Football League’s regular season with a 10-0 record, and then, after a first-round playoff bye, won three straight games to capture the championship trophy, which was lifted Sunday evening under frigid, near-freezing conditions.
Despite a strong game by the Falcons, who were ranked second in the VMFL, the Titans’ offence – which was the league’s best during the regular season – proved to be too much for them to handle.
“On offence, we spread the ball around a lot, and we were able to score first. After that, we really had the game in control,” said Martins.
“The thing that was most impressive, I think, was that every time Coquitlam scored, we responded right away. Once we got the lead, there was never really a threat of Coquitlam coming back – and that’s not meant to insult Coquitlam, but we were able to score every time they had any life.”
On defence, the Titans had strong games from a number of players; when asked, Martins rattled off a long list of individuals who played well, including Mike Bouchard and Mike Felice.
But the veteran coach saved his highest praise for his quarterback, Cole Meyer, who lost his starting job as a first-year midget player last year, before grabbing the quarterback job this year and not letting go.
“He’s just matured so much, and you could see his progression all year,” Martins said. “A year ago, he was the backup, but this year he played basically every snap for us. He took hold of the job and ran with it.”
Meyer was a much more level-headed player this year than in previous seasons, Martins said.
“Last year, he used to get frustrated a lot, and start yelling at guys, and I told him he couldn’t do that. I said, ‘you’re the quarterback, you’re the leader. You have to stay calm out there.’
“He did that this year – he was great for us.”