It was the Justin Fui show Friday afternoon at Fort William Stadium.
After spotting the first-place St. Ignatius Falcons a 21-0 second-quarter lead, the Churchill Trojans quarterback went on a tear, throwing three touchdown passes and running for three more scores, leading his side to a regular-season ending 41-38 triumph.
The loss ended the Falcons top-spot dreams, dropping them to third in the Superior Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior football standings and set up a rematch between the two teams in next Friday’s semifinal.
“We just knew that we had to keep fighting,” said Fui, whose Trojans finished second and are seeking their third straight high school crown.
“Our team has been fighting all year. We lost our first game at the beginning of the season and we were just rebuilding at the beginning of the season.”
It’s a Trojan team that’s faced adversity since Day 1.
All-star quarterback Jarred White left the team after the first week, leaving Fui, normally a bruising halfback, to take over the reins.
He succeeded in a run-first offence, calling his own number whenever sure yardage was needed all season long.
Fui led the league in rushing heading into Week 7, rushing the ball 50 times for 664 yards. He boosted those totals against the Falcons, adding 259 yards on 17 carries. He scored on runs of 36, one and six yards, all in the second half.
He also scampered down the sidelines for a 70-yard fourth-quarter major that was called back on a holding penalty.
His effort helped Churchill erase a 10-point, 24-14 halftime deficit, turning it into a 10-point lead nine minutes into the third.
“We’re going into the playoffs hot. It was a good game today,” Fui said. “I’ve got to give a lot of respect to my offensive line and my receivers, who caught the ball. And I just ran hard.”
Churchill coach Mike Dromoko said the early start left his team a little sleepy, but not to worry.
“We just unleashed the beast that was Justin Fui,” Doromko said.
“I’ve never seen anybody run harder. He was like that. And when he came onto the sidelines, he didn’t talk to anybody. He just stood by himself. I don’t think anybody wanted to get around him.”
The Falcons looked every bit of the top-ranked team in the opening 20 minutes. Wyler Dawd opened the scoring on a seven-yard, tackle-breaking run 3:10 into the contest. Liam Fors added an 11-yard run to later in the quarter, followed early in the second by a 30-yard scoring dash by teammate Jake Puskas.
But Fui hit Eric Warren with a four-yard score to put the Trojans on the board, then connected with Mitchell Spence from 10 yards out, the first of two touchdowns for the Churchill receiver.
The second major pulled the Trojans within four, the Fui broke a series of tackles less than three minutes later to put his side in front for good.
St. Ignatius, who lost quarterback Thomas Walser to injury early in the first half, pulled to within three on two separate occasions. Puskas scored on a 69-yard punt return. Then, down 41-31 in the final minute of play, Falcons quarterback Justin Migliazza led his team down the field, setting up Dawd for his second score of the day with 21.4 seconds left.
But the Falcons (5-2) failed to recover the onside kick and the Trojan (6-1) ran out the clock.
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