The Border Battle Championship trophy just might start growing roots in John Barsby Community School's trophy case.
The Ballenas Whalers (1-2-0) were sent home battered and bruised when the Barsby Bulldogs (3-0-0) won their fifth Border Battle by a score of 22-7 at Merle Logan field on Friday night.
Receiver Kalven Kellock, Grade 11, had two touchdowns and a field goal for Barsby in the win.
Offensive linebacker Brandon Parker added a touchdown and converted for two extra points on Kellock's second trip to the endzone. Duc Truong scored a field goal for the Bulldogs.
Receiver Scott Childs had the lone touchdown for the Whalers during the third quarter.
The Bulldogs and their coach agreed: Barsby won the day on an aggressive, limits-pushing defensive effort - and the Whalers are likely to find they have the bruises to prove it.
"It's our signature. We play right on the edge and we play the game the way it should be played, which is within the rules as hard as you can," said Barsby head coach Rob Stevenson. "I'm proud of the guys for bringing that kind of game. It's inspiring and allows you to take a few risks defensively."
Kellock opened the scoring in the second quarter on a pass from Brody Taylor, who split time at quarterback with North Rainey, who also threw a touchdown pass to Kellock in the fourth quarter.
Taylor plucked the 38-yard pass cozily in the endzone and Truong followed it up with a field goal.
Soon after, defensive back Shawn Arabsky came up with the first of two interceptions for the Bulldogs, grabbing the ball out of the air at the Whalers' 32-yard line. Runningback Cole Virtanen also had an interception for the Bulldogs.
Linebacker Parker Bowles led in tackles with seven, followed by Arabsky and linebacker Chance Mackay-Topley, who had six each.
Defensive end Tyler Harvey had the lone sack for Barsby.
For Arabsky, a senior, the win was the fourth and final Border Battle victory of his high school career.
"I'm excited even in the years beyond to come back and watch (the games)," he said. "It's always fun; they always put up a fight."
In five straight victories, the Bulldogs have outscored the Whalers by a total of 183-67, but the last two contests have been within at most two touchdowns.
The Barsby defence got the job done on Friday night and the sight of Whalers athletes wincing in pain while lying dazed on the turf field was common throughout the night.
But so were the penalties, and the Bulldogs know discipline will be necessary to avoid falling over the edge in future games this season.
"Every border battle is a close, hard fought game, no matter the score," said linebacker Kyle Vollet, who had five tackles on Friday night.
Their honour firmly intact, the Bulldogs will now turn to preparing for their fourth match of the regular season, a 7 p.m. bout against the Spectrum Thunder (0-2-0) on Friday at Merle Logan.
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