Even a victory wasn't enough for the STM Knights to get Thanksgiving Monday off.
The Knights proved that they're the number 1 high school football team in the province on Friday with a thrilling 25-20 win over the number 2-ranked W.J. Mouat Hawks at Burnaby Lake-West Friday night.
Head coach Bernie Kully told his squad they could celebrate the win until midnight (Friday), but they were expected in at 9: 30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Monday for a run and film work.
"This was a huge win for us," said Kully. "Our guys showed a lot of heart."
And most of that heart came from all-purpose linebacker and running back Kyle Madden, who had a highlight-reel 50-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, a key sack and interception that led to another Knights score and then the most important catch of the game, a 60-yard reception with under three minutes left in the game and the Knights trailing 20-19.
Madden's big run set up the deciding touchdown, a seven-yard throw from Mikey Carney to Gio Trasolini with just 1: 58 left in the game.
"Mikey just laid it out there for me," Madden said of his opening touchdown, "but I think the 60yarder was more important because we were trailing, and we needed to win this game."
Carney said the extra fitness work the coaches have asked of the players paid off on Friday night.
"We play hard to the final whistle," said Carney, who had a 26yard touchdown scamper himself. "I think (Kyle's) pick was a game changer for us, and we capitalized."
Trasolini had two touchdowns on the day and an interception, while Grade 10 starter Malcolm Lee had two picks.
"It felt great," said the soft-spoken Lee, son of former CFL star Orville Lee. "It means a lot to me to play in such a great atmosphere and learn from guys like Mikey and Kyle."
The Hawks got key performances from running back Devin Logan, who opened the scoring, and lightning quick receiver Deion Bain, who had a 46-yard TD in the second quarter and a fingertip endzone catch with 3: 02 left in the game to put the Hawks up 20-19.