Hat tricks are usually associated with hockey, but Howe Sound Sounders player Rolan Mendoza had a unique hat trick of his own on Saturday (Sept. 7).
Mendoza scored a touchdown on offence, defence and special teams as the Sounders cruised to a 34-0 win over the Eric Hamber Griffins in Howe Sound’s regular season home opener at Howe Sound field.
The Sounders excelled on both sides of the ball, holding the Griffins to 19 yards of offence and picking up 276 offensive yards of their own.
“I think we played exceptionally well considering the fact that we had a couple of new guys playing today,” Mendoza said. “We’ve been working hard all week and I guess it paid off today.”
Mendoza’s versatility on the field has proven to be valuable for the Sounders. He played quarterback last year but his primary position this year is on the defensive side of the ball.
“They put me starting free safety this year and I’ve put most of my time into that,” he said. “I don’t have a favourite position, I just go wherever they want — I was playing left tackle earlier. I just try my best in everything and do it for the guys.”
He also spent some time on Saturday as a wide receiver, picking up 96 receiving yards and two touchdowns. It was a great day for starting quarterback Scott Messier, who threw for 204 yards and completed 13 passes. His other main target was Adam Stangowitz, who snagged nine passes for 106 yards.
Cam Dare led the way on the ground with 58 yards rushing and one touchdown.
Jonathan Hamill had a team-high six tackles on defence, with Stangowitz and Mendoza picking up four apiece. Mendoza grabbed three interceptions and Messier added one, while Hamill led the team with three sacks.
Mendoza said he was proud of his team’s performance but said there is some room for improvement.
“One of the things we need to work on is our offensive line,” he said. “We did pretty good today but there were some times where we couldn’t hold back the pressure.”
Sounders coach Jim Errington said the offence needs a little bit of fine-tuning.
“Offensively we had a number of people step up and make some big plays,” he said. “We just need to not stall inside the 20. The upcoming game against the [Abbotsford] Panthers will really show where we’re at.”
Errington added that the Sounders lost key player Andrew Pelletier to an injury and will be looking for someone to fill in his role at centre and middle linebacker.
Howe Sound travels to Abbotsford on Friday (Sept. 13) and then hosts Timberline on Sept. 21. For more information on Howe Sound athletics, visit www.sd48howesound.org/programs/athletics/.