Sunday, October 14, 2018

AA Varsity Week 7

AA Varsity Week Seven

Week 6 In Review

Gridirons Top 5

1. Vernon Panthers
2. Ballenas Whalers
3. Windsor Dukes
4. Langley Saints
5. Holy Cross Crusaders

GI's Picks

Thursday, October 18th

Kelly Road Roadrunners @ Prince George Polars: The Polars are on a roll and are physically the most dominant varsity team the North has produced since 2014 (that team being the 2014 Polars).  Look for the Mean Green to establish the run early and pound away all day long.  GI's Pick: Polars by 30

Friday, October 19th

Frank Hurt Hornets @ Robert Bateman Timberwolves:  Bateman is hitting their stride at just the right time in the season.  Coming off a big, emotional win over G.W. Graham has them in a great mental place as a team and the balanced offence/speedy defense will be too overwhelming for the plucky Hornet squad to handle.  GI's Pick: Timberwolves by 30

Argyle Pipers @ John Barsby Bulldogs: Argyle is healthy and has had a bye week to prepare for Barsby.   The tilts between these two programs are usually pretty evenly contested if one looks at the historical context of the series.  The Piper's throw the ball very well and play very aggressive, opportunistic defense.  Barsby was a slow motion, passionless, poorly led, vomit inducing, inconsistent train-wreck vs Holy Cross this past Saturday.  GI's Pick: Pipers by 8

Valleyview Vikings @ Clarence Fulton Maroons: Fulton is coming off of a tough loss to Westsyde last weekend.  The game was close and I am sure the locker-room is looking to up it's game and get back on track.  Valleyview has struggled against the Marroons in past years and this will likely be the case again this year.  Fulton's offense is more balanced and as a team, they have been playing tougher competition all year.  GI's Pick: Maroons by 12

Westsyde Blue Wave @ Salmon Arm Golds:  A big win vs Fulton has Westsyde chomping at the bit for more headed into a road trip vs Salmon Arm.  The Blue Wave are on a bit of a mid-season high right now and finding all kinds of confidence in themselves with playoff seeding on the line. GI's Pick: Westsyde by 14

G.W. Graham Grizzlies @ Langley Saints: Kudos to GW Graham for their salty, tough performance on Friday vs a fine Robert Bateman squad.  That kind of grit and resilience will factor in heavily in this key divisional tilt vs the Eastern Steam Roller known as the Langley Saints.  Langley is rested coming off a bye week and will be well prepared by their coaches for all eventualities.  This game will be close for a quarter, but I think Langley has more in the tank and is better up front which will break the Grizzlies in the mid-to late rounds.  GI's Pick: Langley by 16

Vernon Panthers @ South Kamloops Titans: Vernon will do what Vernon does with its deep, fast and talented roster.  SKS just doesn't match-up well anywhere with the visitors.  Look for a big day in the air for Vernon and stifling defense that benefits from a great kicking game.  GI's Pick: Vernon by 35 plus

Saturday, October 20th

College Heights Cougars @ Nechako Valley Vikings: I like Nechako Valley in this one based on their offensive execution and esprit de corps as an overall squad.  GI's Pick: Vikings by 7

Windsor Dukes @ Ballenas Whalers: Game of the Week in AA Varsity ball here folks.  Wow is it going to be a good one!  Windsor is going to find out everything about itself when it takes on the Whaler Juggernaut on Whaler home turf.  Ballenas has had a bye week to prepare for this game and they will have needed it.  The line of scrimmage is going to be pivotal for both teams as this is where they are strongest offensively.  I think the Whalers have more depth up front, but Windsor executes better and comes off the ball harder.  If either team can get their backs into the second level, there are going to be some big rushing stats on game day.   Ballenas may need to load-up the box defensively and be creative with their pressures/alignments.  If they send heat, it will be feast or famine.  Windsor has to be aware of the Ballenas-Barsby game as the Whalers have proven they can throw the ball well to some very talented receives when required to do so.  Special teams....Ballenas can flip a game with their short kicking game alone.  Seen that many times.  Windsor will be aware of this and the chess game is on! Coaching: This is a Football Mensa club on both benches.  If you can get out to see this game, you won't be let down.  Gonna be a classic! GI's Pick: Ballenas by 7

Howe Sound Sounders @ Holy Cross Crusaders:  Howe Sound has been a pleasant surprise and welcome addition to AA Varsity football this year.  Holy Cross has something really special going on as it fields its best Varsity squad since 2015.  I was so very impressed with the Crusaders play this past Saturday vs Barsby.  That was one unified, prepared and disciplined football team that quickly responded to breakdowns and momentum changes throughout the game.  HC has a super offensive line and is executing offensively to the fullest.  They are very efficient with what they do with the players they have getting the ball in the right hands at the right time.  The Sounders will be in tough for this one.  They are very quick athletically and bring a lot of heat.  They will make a few big defensive plays in the HC backfield, but not enough to win.  GI's Pick: Crusaders by 24

Monday, October 8, 2018

AA Varsity Week 6

AA Varsity Week Six

Week 5 In Review

Gridirons Top 5

1. Vernon Panthers
2. John Barsby Bulldogs
3. Ballenas Whalers 
4. Langley Saints
5. Windsor Dukes

GI's Picks

Friday, October 12th

Salmon Arm Golds @ South Kamloops Titans: The Titans seem to be putting a better product on the field this year than their opponents and they have played a more extensive schedule.  The roster is deeper across the board for the hosts.  GI's Pick: SKS by 9

Howe Sound Sounders @ Windsor Dukes:  Howe Sound has really improved since three and are going to challenge Windsor on the edge offensively and defensively.  Windsor's offensive line is amongst the top three in AA ball right now and it will likely carry the day for the Dukes along with the precise execution of the entire offensive scheme.  GI's Pick: Windsor by 16

Kelly Road Roadrunners @ Nechako Valley Vikings: This is going to be a tough tangle between two very evenly matched teams. Kelly Road has been playing Interior squads leading up to this date and that experience will have elevated their game a bit compared to the visitors.  GI's Pick: Roadrunners by 8

Clarence Fulton Maroons @ Westsyde Blue Wave: Fulton traditionally plays its best ball in October and November.  They play a tough September, find the chinks in their armor and clean things up.  I think the Maroons have more balance in their offense and have defensively faced a team like Langley.  This will be a good game.  GI's Pick: Maroons by 11

Robert Bateman Timberwolves @ G.W. Graham Grizzlies:  Massive playoff implications for both teams here with the winner owning the inside track to at least third spot in the division.  Bateman has more depth and a far more diverse offensive attack.  The line of scrimmage will be contested equally, but the backfield/receiver-db contest is heavily in Bateman's favor.  Special Teams to the Timberwolves as well.  GI's Pick: Bateman by 14

Valleyview Vikings @ Vernon Panthers:  Vernon is peerless in the Interior and possibly the province.  Look for the Panthers to air it out early and often vs the visitors.  Defensively, the Panther roster is too big, strong, fast and experienced for the Viking offense to have much of an impact.  Special teams, Vernon.  GI's Pick: Panthers by 30 plus

College Heights Cougars @ D.P. Todd Trojans: The Cougars ought to grind this one out on the ground this Friday.  I think the game will be close til mid-to late 3rd quarter before the wheels fall off for the Trojans.  GI's Pick: Cougars by 11

Saturday, October 13th

SRT Titans @ Frank Hurt Hornets: This is a good bounce game for SRT after getting crushed by divisional rival Langley.  Frank Hurt has struggled this year, but you have to admire them going back to practice and reloading for another tilt week-after-week.  GI's Pick: SRT by 24 plus

John Barsby Bulldogs @ Holy Cross Crusaders: Both teams are coming off of wins from this past weekend.  Look for a very inspired Crusader effort on the field this Saturday.  The HC defense does a great job vs the pass as opposed to standing up in front of a power running game such as Ballenas.  Barsby is a whole different experience offensively and quite similar in scheme to the HC offense.  Special teams and big plays on offense will likely carry the day for either squad.  GI's Pick: Barsby by 14

Sunday, September 30, 2018

AA Varsity Week 5

AA Varsity Week 5

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Gridirons Top 5

1.  Vernon Panthers
2.  John Barsby Bulldogs
3.  Ballenas Whalers
4.  Windsor Dukes
5.  Langley Saints

GI's Picks

Thursday, October 4th

D.P. Todd Trojans @ Prince George Polars: The Trojans are in over their head against the Polars in this tilt.  PGSS is to big, to fast and too strong on both sides of the football for the visitors.  Look for a heap of offensive stats, particularly on the ground for the boys in green.  GI's Pick: Polars by 22

Friday, October 5th

Valleyview Vikings @ Westsyde Blue Wave: A well rested Valleyview squad plays cross town rival Westsyde this Friday in a good ol fashioned Kamloops rivalry game.  Westsyde played a challenging September exhibition schedule and will be hitting on all cylinders come kick-off.  It is my belief the momentum of the September exhibition crucible will serve the Blue Wave well and they will have an execution edge in all three phases of the game.  GI's Pick: Blue Wave by 14

Holy Cross Crusaders @ Argyle Pipers: Big divisional game here with major playoff implications for both squads coming off of last weekend's losses.  Both teams ran into tough running offenses in week four with devastating results.  Now it is spread on spread and the ball is going to be thrown all over the field.  Holy Cross may have a bit of an edge in terms of "big play" athletes and a solid kicking-game.  You can never count out Argyle as they have won a lot of respect with their version of the short passing game which can give zone coverage defenses literal fits of frustration.  This one is going to be tight! GI's Pick: Crusaders by 6 if they can win the turnover battle.

South Kamloops Titans @ Clarence Fulton Maroons: This is a very good match-up between two teams that will be in the hunt for a 2nd-4th seed out of the Interior.  The rosters match and it will be fairly close through much of the game.  Fulton's running game is better and this will be the difference when the final whistle blows.  GI's Pick: Maroons by 11 

Ballenas Whalers @ John Barsby Bulldogs:  Air Barsby hosts Ground and Pound Ballenas...who would have thunk it?!!!! This year's Border Battle will be like no other witnessed in living memory since the rivalry series began in 2000.  The undefeated Whalers have ground-up, trampled, rolled over and spit out every defense they have come across this year.  That offensive line has killed more defensive fronts this year than smallpox.  That power running offense is stylistically and spiritually dear to this child's heart.  I never get tired of watching that kind of football!  To compound Barsby's defensive anxiety is the fact that Ballenas has a lethal passing game when need be.  Whaler special teams are a nasty and cerebral thing for opponents to deal with as well.  I think that their short kicking game  could give a kick-return squad composed of mongooses up front fits!  They are that good and are quick to the ball.  The Whaler defense is bend, but don't break with some great strategic and opportunistic blitzing.  Barsby beware!  Barsby for it's part has done a good job via the air this year and its special teams have been solid as well.  Big plays are on the menu for the Barsby Offense at any given time.  Defensively, the Dawgs get to the ball well and have added a few wrinkles to their stingy defensive scheme.  GI's Pick: Barsby by 1

Langley Saints @ SRT Titans: The winner of this game has the inside track to being the number one seed coming out of the East come November.  The match-ups are pretty much even across the board except for the offensive line where Langley just might be top one or two in the province.  They are monsters in football equipment and they are starting to really get some unit mojo going on.  This said, the Titan backfield is as good as it gets in AA when it comes to the run and short passing game.  The respective defensive coordinators are going to be burning the midnight oil this week!  Special teams and taking care of the football will be the difference on Friday in my opinion. GI's Pick: Langley by 4

Frank Hurt Hornets @ G.W. Graham Grizzlies: This game is just what the doctor ordered for a short benched Grizzly squad held together by tape and a will to compete.  Graham has ducked no one and this weekend will be a test for the whole program.  The Hornets have struggled in September, but love their football.  The Graham run game will be tough for Hurt to handle and they can throw pretty well to balance things out.  GI's Pick: Graham by 17

Saturday, October 6th

Kelly Road Roadrunners @ Vernon Panthers:  There is a poem based on a calvary charge in the Crimean war called " The Charge Of The Light Brigade" by Alfred Lord Tennyson.  Kelly Road should read it and be prepared for a bunch of snarling Panthers licking their chops for fresh meat.  Those who stagger out of this game will definitely be battle hardened headed in to the rest of the Northern schedule that awaits them.  Vernon is good and rains offense on opposing defenses.  Special teams for the Panthers are solid and their kicking game keeps people penned-up on a long field.  GI's Pick: Vernon by 40 plus.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

AA Varsity Week 4

AA Varsity Week Four

Gridirons Top 5

1.  Vernon Panthers
2.  John Barsby Bulldogs
3.  Ballenas Whalers
4.  Windsor Dukes
5.  SRT Titans

GI's Picks

Friday, September 28th

John Barsby Bulldogs @ Robert Bateman Timberwolves:  Bateman has had this game circled on it's calendar for a year as part two of a home and home exhibition series between the two schools.  The Timberwolves are going to have a huge home field advantage as their school is having a buy-out of class deal to come watch the game.  Look for an air-show on Friday as both squads love chuck the pigskin.  The game will be a unique test for both defenses as neither school has faced the volume of passing that they are going to be confronted with when the game gets under-way.  This ought to be a lot of fun to watch!  The rosters are pretty evenly matched and when you look at the stats, it is a statistical dead heat. GI's Pick: Barsby by 2 in a squeaker

Holy Cross Crusaders @ Ballenas Whalers: The pre-season is over for both of these teams and it is GAME ON for this divisional clash.  Spectators are going to witness two opposing styles of offensive play with the Crusader air show locking horns with the Whaler rushing juggernaut!  I see this as a game of attrition with the Whaler bench being deeper, especially up-front.  Crusader JV call-ups will play a critical role in terms of giving their true Varsity much needed relief as the game progresses in to the late rounds.  Holy Cross is going to have to find some speed mismatches, be very tactically sound and create some turnovers to stay in the mix by late game.  GI's Pick: Whalers will break the visitors by the mid-third quarter if not sooner with repeated hammer blows up front. Whalers by 14

Westsyde Blue Wave @ G.W. Grahm Grizzlies: The Grizzlies are as tough as their namesake and are battle tested.  After a physical tilt with the Whaler mincing machine, they are probably licking some wounds and gathering themselves for Friday's game.  Westsyde really has to get after the home squad in all phases of the game to have a chance for victory in this one.  I just don't think the Blue Wave can hang with the hosts physically for four quarters.  GI's Pick: Grizzlies by 19

Saturday, September 29th

Argyle Pipers @ Howe Sound Sounders:  This is a mismatch in terms of football IQ.  Howe Sound isn't football dumb, they are just green with the bulk of their roster brand new to the game.  I got to see them play this past weekend and was very, very impressed with their aggression and toughness.  There are some serious ballers on their squad and they fly hard to the football.  Argyle is looking for a quality win and they likely will get that on Saturday.  How, they win and how they play this one will say a lot about their football zen.  Howe Sound Football is doing a great thing for their school community and I wish em every bit of success as they grow and adapt.  GI's Pick: Argyle by 23

Prince George Polars @ Nechako Valley Vikings:  Hey, how bout them Vikings and their second half surge last weekend!  This team will enter this week's practices on a program high!  I think the opening series or two in this game will be pretty even and then PG's size and numbers will have their say, particularly the Polar rushing game.  GI's Pick: Polars by 22

Clarence Fulton Maroons @ Kelly Road Roadrunners: The Maroons have been taking it on the chin pretty hard the first three weeks of the season.  This game however is far more evenly matched and the Fulton fellas are led by a coaching legend in the Interior AA ranks.  They will play hard and play for one another.  The Roadrunners are an improved squad over last year's crew, but are going to be in tough for this game.  GI's Pick: Fulton by 14

Salmon Arm Golds @ College Heights Cougars:  Great match-up for both teams and in the bigger picture, it is very, very healthy for the HS Football Game to see yet another inter-lock between the North and the Interior.  Only good things can come of these tilts!  Well done coaches for scheduling them.  The Cougars run the ball pretty good and they will challenge a Golds team that had a rough go against number 1 ranked Vernon last weekend.  GI's Pick: Cougars by 6

Vernon Panthers @ Foothills Composite (AB):  Gotta hand it to Vernon, they don't duck the big-time opponents they can find for their scheduling.  This is going to be a real tough test for the Panthers, but you know the saying, "Iron Sharpens Iron".  The long term interest that comes with playing this game will manifest itself come November when the playoff dance begins.  Adjusting to Canadian rules ism't as big a thing as some might think.  When the ball is snapped, it is still trips, quads etc. and players are still blocking, running, catching and tackling.  Special teams work is going to need some added emphasis at practice this week, particularly the punting game and field goals.  When the all star selections take place at the end of the year, it would be a hoot if Coach Smith pulls some rouge stats out of his hip pocket in a hotly debated selection...grin.  GI's Pick: Hell, I'd never pick Albertans over us BC boys!  Panthers by well hec, a rougr!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

AA Varsity Week 3

AA Varsity Week 3

Gridirons Top 5

1. Vernon Panthers
2. John Barsby Bulldogs
3. Ballenas Whalers
4. Windsor Dukes
5. Holy Cross Crusaders

GI's Picks

Thursday, September 20th

Prince George Polars @ College Heights Cougars: PG is coming off a rough road trip and the Cougs are coming off a tie.  The Polars are deeper offensively than the home team and the competition they faced last week has certainly tuned up their game.  GI's Pick: Polars by 8

Nechako Valley Vikings @ D.P. Todd Trojans:  The Vikings have a game under their belt and the jump from week 1 to week 2 usually is the most dramatic in terms of quality all season long.  The Trojans have their season debut this week.  There are going to be some kinks to work out.  GI's Pick: Vikings by 3

Friday, September 21st

Westsyde Blue Wave @ Robert Bateman Timberwolves:  Both squads are coming off of tough losses this past weekend.  I think the Bateman roster is far more athletic than the visitors and their passing game is as tough to defend as it gets.  This game is good for Westsyde as consecutive games against Lower Mainland teams will surely help them up their game headed in to Interior league play.  As an aside, great to see Bob Bridges listed on the Westsyde staff.  He is a provincial H.S. Football treasure! GI's Pick: Bateman by 21

Langley Saints @ Clarence Fulton Maroons: Both of these teams love to run the football and defend the run.  Langley will have a definite size advantage up-front.  Special teams could be the great evener for Fulton if the Maroons are on top of their game.  GI's Pick: Langley by 19

Windsor Dukes @ Argyle Pipers:  This yearly game has all the makings of becoming a rivalry game between the two programs.  Windsor was very impressive in their season opener vs Bateman last week.  The Dukes offensive line is stellar and the offense looks to be a real buzz saw this year.  Defense and special teams for the Dukes are as per-usual, solid.  Argyle is no slouch themselves, particularly with the "skill position" types.  I don't think they can hang with Windsor up front and this is going to be problematic because Windsor executes its scheme very well.  GI's Pick: Dukes by 21

Frank Hurt Hornets @ SRT Titans: This is going to be a much needed breakout game for SRT and it's backfield trifecta.  SRT will be dominant at all positions in this game.  GI's Pick: Titans by 34 on some big offensive runs/catches

Salmon Arm Golds @ Vernon Panthers:  Salmon Arm is going to be walking in to a literal hornet's nest on Friday as the Panthers are going to be venting some team frustration after a frustrating, one sided loss vs Terry Fox.  Vernon is way better than last week's score and Coach Smith and crew will have their understudies ready to go for this tilt.  GI's Pick: Vernon by 26

Saturday September 22nd

Kelly Road Roadrunners @ South Kamloops Titans:  SKS will continue to feed on the North in this game.  Kelly Road will be a tougher opponent than Nechako Valley was last week, but they still are outmatched in this tilt vs an opponent with a balanced pass-run offensive attack. GI's Pick: Titans by 15

Pitt Meadows Marauders @ Earl Marriot Mariners (AAA):  Earl Marriot was a big beneficiary of the folding of the Hugh Boyd program with several players arriving to play for the Mariners.  Notably, Boyd's quarterback who has a lazer arm and some great receivers to spray the ball around to.  Further, Marriot had a solid JV squad in 2017 and their JV's that joined this year's varsity crew are going to factor in heavily.  Pitt is always tough and scrappy and their defense brings a lot of heat. The Marauders will leave it all on the field come Saturday.  GI's Pick: Marriot by 18

John Barsby Bulldogs @ Howe Sound Sounders: This is Howe Sound's first game of the season and it is league play.  What they put on the field is a total mystery as no one has seen em yet this year.  I predict a big, athletic roster with a bent towards smash mouth football based on their historical tendencies.  Barsby will continue to throw the ball as per-weeks one and two while relying on tough defense and solid special teams.  GI's Pick: Barsby by 18

G.W. Graham Grizzlies @ Ballenas Whalers: The Grizzlies are good and have four big-time difference makers in their backfield and on defense.  Their problem is that their varsity numbers are very low.  The JV call-ups (they are very good) are going to have to have a big showing on Saturday vs the Whalers.  Ballenas is a true power football team with the deepest group of linemen type body's I have seen in their program since 2004.  They are built for battles of attrition.  This is not what G.W. wants to be up against at all.  GI's Pick: Whalers by 18

Sunday, September 9, 2018

AA Varsity Week 2

AA Varsity Week 2

Gridirons Top 5

1. Vernon Panthers
2. John Barsby Bulldogs
3. Ballenas Whalers
4. Robert Bateman Timberwolves
5. Prince George Polars

GI's Picks

Thursday, September 13th

College Heights Cougars @ Kelly Road Roadrunners: Big cross town rivalry here.  I think the Cougars return a solid veteran crew from last year's very competitive squad.  Look for the College Heights run game to pick-up where it left off last fall.  GI's Pick: College Heights by 8

Friday, September 14th

West Vanvouver Highlanders(AAA) @ Ballenas Whalers: Both squads are coming off big opening wins in week 1.  This is a clash between the West Van spread offense and the Whaler power running game.  The big question defensively is whether or not the Whalers can match the Highlander offensive speed defensively.  The Whalers ought to eat up a lot of clock.  They are BIG! GI's Pick: Whalers by 18

Robert Bateman Timberwolves @ Windsor Dukes:  The Champs have enough of a returning core to bring a lot of veteran mojo to practices and leadership on the playing field.  What comes up and out to join them is a big question mark.  Bateman is deep, fast and very experienced.  I think they have something real special going on with the program.  Having an opening game against decent competition under their belts is also a good thing.  GI's Pick: Bateman by 11

Langley Saints @ John Barsby Bulldogs: Langley got a big program win in their season opener vs AAA Mission.  The defense is very tough and the Saint running game looks to be a very good one.  Barsby had a tough loss vs neighborhood rival AAA NDSS last Friday.  Home field is always a good thing and will factor in a bit this weekend.  Barsby is going to have to come out with a great defensive effort to be in this one.  Offensively, the Dawgs were penalized heavily last week and this needs to be cleaned-up if drives are to be sustained.  GI's Pick: Barsby by 6

St. Thomas Moore Knights (AAA) @ SRT Titans:  The athletes match-up pretty good in this tilt.  Both programs have momentum headed in to this game.  STM will execute their offense better than the host Titans and this will be the difference maker on the field.  GI's Pick: STM by 14

Clarence Fulton Maroons @ Omak WA:  Fulton is on a rebuild year, is on the road and over matched athletically is this annual tilt between the two programs.  It is a great team builder for the Maroons and they will get better as a result of the US competition.  GI's Pick: Omak by 40

Holy Cross Crusaders @ Pitt Meadows Marauders:  The Crusaders had a competitive, break out game vs GW Graham last week.  Pitt is going to have to be on their A game to compete in this one.  Look for HC's offense to get it done via the air on Friday.  GI's Pick: Crusaders by 17

Saturday, September 15th

Prince George Polars @ G.W. Graham Grizzlies:  This is an intriguing game for sure.  Super move by both coaches for scheduling it!  GW is going to have to play some serious run defense against a very big and tough PG squad that features two superb running backs.  If they can defend the pass PG has an excellent chance to come away from this game with the W.  GI's Pick: Polars by 8

Vernon Panthers @ Terry Fox Ravens (AAA):  This is my game of the week!  The Panther defense is going to get tested real hard on the ground!  Vernon will certainly move the ball by air and land on Saturday offensively.  Fox is bigger and has a slight edge in team speed.  GI's Pick: Ravens by 11 I am going to qualify this by posting a big fat UPSET ALERT however.

Argyle Pipers @ Valleyview Vikings: Good team builder for Argyle!  This game will be pretty close as Valleyview ought to have a tough running game to throw at Argyle who traditionally has thrown the ball a lot on offense.  GI's Pick: Valleyview by 2

Westsyde Blue Wave @ Frank Hurt Hornets:  Frank Hurt is going to be a big strong team this year.  There are lots of kids on the roster with significant Varsity experience.  Westsyde is always tough and quite balanced.  This one comes down to defense and turnovers.  GI's Pick: Frank Hurt by 6

South Kamloops Titans @ Nechako Valley Vikings:  SKS played a good game against a very tough and talented SRT squad last week.  The Vikings will likely be over matched athletically when the two squads come to grips on game day.  This was a good scheduling choice for both programs and it builds some good football bonds between the Interior and the North.  I like it a lot.  GI's Pick: Titans by 18


Monday, September 3, 2018

AA Varsity Week 1

Zero Week Scores

Colton Oregon 49 GW Graham 28

Robert Bateman @ Clarence Fulton Hi-Lites 

Gridiron's AA Top Five

1. Vernon Panthers
2. John Barsby Bulldogs
3. SRT Titans
4. Ballenas Whalers
5. Prince George Polars

GI's Picks

Thursday, 6 September

D.P Todd Trojans @ Kelly Road Roadrunners:  Both of these squads have great numbers out for football this year.  The Trojans had a big JV squad last year and a lot of talent is matriculating to the varsity level.  Game one of the year can be pretty sloppy so look for this one to be heavily affected by turnovers and some big plays vs broken coverages etc. GI's Pick: Trojans by 6

Friday, 7 September

South Kamloops Titans @ SRT Titans: Well, gonna start week 1 with my most accurate prediction: This game is going to be Titanic!  Ha!  Seriously, there may not be a backfield trifecta as cumulatively athletic as the SRT fellas.  They are big, fast and tough.  That is saying a lot as there are some stud backfields lurking out there in four or five AA programs this year.  SKS is going to have their defensive and special team hands full some Friday.  GI's Pick: SRT by 21

Centennial Centaurs (AAA) @ Ballenas Whalers: Centennial is a huge school and draws from a significant pool of athletes.  This said they struggled last year and are in rebuild mode.  Ballenas was a JV finalist last year.  The Whaler program has done a stellar job of building top to bottom the past three years and are absolutely massive physically for an AA squad.  The Whaler offense is balanced and can play power football.  They are lethal at times throwing the ball as well.  Defensively, they attack well within a very disciplined scheme.  Special teams are as always, game changers.  GI's Pick: Whalers by 18

Salmon Arm Golds (AAA) at Westsyde Blue Wave: Salmon arm will have a deeper, bigger roster that takes the field than their opponents.  Westsyde has played good, tough scrappy football the past three or for years.  Look for Salmon Arm to lean on the Blue Wave pretty good and barring catastrophic turnovers, they ought to grind this one out. GI's Pick: Golds by 17

Argyle Pipers @ Langley Saints: Really like this one!  Both teams are going to bring a lot of experience and talent to the field.  Some coaching changes at the Argyle program mean players will be learning a new scheme early in the season whereas the Saints have years with the same staff and schemes.  This will be a difference maker.  The Saints also were a playoff team at JV and Varsity last year thus bringing much momentum and high expectations to the 2018 season.  GI's Pick: Langley by 11

Robert Batemen Timberwolves @ Clarence Fulton Maroons: Another good tangle here.  Coach Scheller always gets a great effort from his players and the Maroons are playing on home dirt.  This said, Bateman is one of my dark horse picks to make a huge playoff run in 2018.  The Timberwolves are big, physical, in great shape and have an experienced gunslinger/receivers offensively.  They will be tough. GI's Pick: Bateman by 14

John Barsby Bulldogs @ Nanaimo District Islanders (AAA):  This game is going to be a good ol fashioned neighborhood donneybrook played between two schools only blocks a part on the map.  The players have competed with and against each other since starting flag ball in grade 5 in many cases!  Adding to the rivalry is the fact that Nanaimo District tuned-up on Barsby in the 2016 AA JV final a couple years back.  This year's match-up is going to be interesting indeed.  The Islanders will field a bigger roster in terms of numbers on game day.  Size is relatively even as is team speed.  Barsby is going to have to withstand a grinding Islander offense that has big play potential on the run and via the air.  Nanaimo District is going to have to defend a Barsby offense that can score fast in the air and on the ground as well.  The kicking game looms large!  The fight in the trenches is going to be epic.  A very big crowd is expected for this tilt and the emotional swings are going to be BIG! The Islander School Band is going to really bring some atmosphere!! GI's Pick: Too Close to Call

Kelowna Owls (AAA) @ Vernon Panthers: Kelowna is a very competitive AAA program and a huge school.  Vernon is the consensus number 1 AA program in the province.  The individual match-ups are pretty much even here in terms of athleticism.  Vernon however is much deeper mentally from the point of view of experience and familiarity with their systems.  The Panthers also ran a controlled scrimmage last week vs a good Mt. Boucherie squad.  The rust will be off.  GI's Pick: Vernon by 8

Mission Roadrunners (AAA) @ Pitt Meadows Marauders: Mission is a AAA program on the rise and will be a playoff competitor this year at that level.  I am sure of it.  Pitt, you gotta love em for picking up this game, they are surely scrappers one and all!  Both teams will get better by playing this game.  Mission simply has the athletes in every offensive and defensive category and should overwhelm their brave opponents as the game progresses.  GI's Pick: Mission by 24

Saturday, 8 September

G.W. Graham Grizzlies @ Holy Cross Crusaders: This will be a great match-up athlete for athlete.  HC will have some good Sr. leadership and they were a solid JV playoff squad in 2017.  Graham played a great second half vs US competition last week and this momentum will roll into this coming tilt.  I have to give the Crusaders the edge in the air in this one.  GI's Pick: Crusaders by 3

Valleyview Vikings @ Mt. Boucherie Bears (AAA): Valleyview is going to surprise a few teams in the AA Interior conference this year.  I am really looking forward to how their new offense plays out.  This said, the Bears are loaded with talent and will field a very big roster.  Schemes have a say, but so does physics. GI's Pick: Bears by 21