Week 6 will go down as the weekend when the playoff-bound began to emerge and the top-tier within the league began to declare itself. Rick Hansen, Lord Tweedsmuir and Barsby showed on Friday that they are hitting stride in mid-October while South Delta, Ballenas and Seaquam did so convincingly on Saturday. In the Interior, Okanagen Mission won by a big score versus a Vernon squad that had been surging and Clarence Fulton added a W to it's resume as the march to playoff seeding took a serious turn. Reading the tea-leaves that the weekend has left behind, I see a couple pictures emerge:
Seaquam is headed for a number one seed out of the West if it can get by the Dukes. If they stay healthy the playoffs will be a neat package of games at Lower Mainland locations with short travel and a favorable draw. Start scouting South Delta now, it will pay off the last Saturday of November.
Lord Tweedsmuir will be playing for the number 1 seed vs South Delta on October 25th which we may as well announce now as "Separation Saturday" across BC where the divisional alignments/playoff seeding will come clear. Folks, that game will be HUGE!! The results will ripple on in to November.
Folks, go back and study the Seaquam-Mission Game. Mission is built for November artificial turf fields offensively. Seaquam blanked-em which is the only such occasion this year. Look and learn everyone. The Roadrunners at least know now what style of defense they will be up against for the rest of the year.
Barsby is starting to gain traction and a bit-of confidence to go along with it. They shut-down an offense on Friday that averaged 35 points a game over the first six weeks of play. A victory over Belmont on Friday will solidify at least a second place seed and home host in the playoffs. Over the horizon is a tilt vs visiting Earl Marriot and then the most meaningful Border Battle up in Bandit-Country since 2004 on Halloween Day. The Whalers will be emptying the hallways and looking for Dawgmeat on that fateful day. Neither team however, can afford to look past next week's respective tilt.
Ballenas scored more points against a tough but battered Timberline squad on Saturday than anyone has all year. The Wolves kept it close til half and then the Whaler speed and depth pulled away. The Whalers have played a super-tough schedule in 08 and are oozing well-earned confidence. Up in Parksville there is surely a collective and reflexive jump to Halloween afternoon after this win. The Dawgs are coming. The coaches will tell the players to focus on this week's opponent and everyone will try. They will try.....
South Delta is quietly, methodically and very convincingly marching towards their date with the Panthers on Separation Saturday and a number 1 seed in the playoffs. This is a very, very high quality team that is getting under the radar in terms of hype directed at it. Well that ends now!! People, I am convinced that this is going to be one of the squads in the Dome at the end of November. The Panthers are going to get skinned and their pelts sold at the SD Hudson's Bay trading-post on the 25th. The Sun Devils are going to roast-em. First-off the Sundevils will have to deliver the bad news this weekend to Mission that they are going to be a number 3 seed playing on the road in week 1 of the playoffs; which they will do.
Rick-Hansen...oooh boy, this is a good football team that is getting better that HAS TO WIN one game in the next two weeks to make the playoffs. I think the October 17th game vs Earl Marriot will be the clincher one way or another. How big is that game??!! The Hurricanes will be playing football with a touch of desparation in their hearts onthe 17th and if they lose, every play vs Mission on Separation Saturday will be played with great intensity on the field and baited breath on the sidelines! Wow folks, are they up against it in October.
Mission: Time to re-focus and take care of business over the next two weeks which will easily be the most crucial of the entire year. Next week's tilt versus South Delta will define the Roadrunners as a good second tier squad or a contender. I don't like their chances but they do have the offensive scheme to stay in it. The following week on Separation Saturday it is the Hurricanes on the Roadrunner plate. That game ought to be labelled the Darwin Bowl as one team's season will be a dead-end on the evolutionary chart and the other's will go on to compete for survival for a few more weeks.
The Interior: I am starting to see OKM and Fulton as 1 and 2 respectively while Valleyview, Norkam and Vernon should start collecting their travelling bags for week 1 of the playoffs.
Week Six Scores
Lord Tweedsmuir 27 Earl Marriot 9
Okanagen Mission 41 Vernon 6
Handsworth 31 Burnaby Central 0
John Barsby 56 Nanaimo District 8
Rick Hansen 42 Langley 6
Seaquam 24 Mission 0
South Delta 40 Frank Hurt 0
Ballenas 47 Timberline 14
Clarence Fulton 34 Penticton 0
Gridiron's Week Seven Top Ten
- Seaquam Seahawks (5-1)
- South Delta Sundevils (5-1)
- Ballenas Whalers (4-1-1)
- John Barsby Bulldogs (6-0)
- Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers (5-1)
- Windsor Dukes (3-2)
- Hugh Boyd Trojans (3-2)
- Mission Roadrunners (4-2)
- Earl Marriot Mariners (2-4)
- Rick Hansen Hurricanes (3-3)
Friday, 17 October
Lord Tweedsmuir vs Frank Hurt
Lord Tweedsmuir is a juggernaut and they are gaining momentum. Huot has yet to be stopped and if the Panthers stay true to the power running game, a lot of bugs are going to get squashed in the process. Frank Hurt has lots of heart and some talented players. LT is going to be too much for the Hornets right out of the gates.
Gridiron’s Pick: Lord Tweedsmuir by 34. It could be even more lopsided but the LT coaches will probably sub the roster generously to keep their powder dry for Separation Saturday's tilt vs South Delta.
John Barsby vs Belmont
Belmont is a big AAA school in terms of numbers. The Blue Dawgs have size, speed and a bye week for preparation versus the Bulldogs of Harewood. In spring-ball Belmont ran the ball very well against JB and their finesse game was much improved over 07. A stud tailback behind a big strong offensive line is their recipe for offense. Belmont has been in some big games vs Mt. Douglas and Ballenas this Fall and will be chomping at the bit to get after another one of the traditional Island powers. Barsby's defense has allowed 8 points in the previous ten-quarters of play while their special teams have been rock-solid. Home field goes to JB as the Dawgs love playing at home in "The Cage"! On top of it all, the Belmont varsity were also laying the verbal smack down on the Barsby JV's last week.
Gridiron’s Pick: Barsby by 24.
Nanaimo District vs Timberline
Intriguing match-up. Timberline has been playing tough all year and is very hungry for a conference win. Nanaimo District hit it's first offensive speed bump last week vs Barsby. Other than that, they have been scoring a lot of points in every contest. This game will come down to two factors: 1) Does Timberline have gas in the tanks for the 3rd and 4th quarters and 2) Can the Islanders keep the score close in the first half. If the answer is yes on both counts it is going to be a tight game. If Nanaimo gets down early, it will be a gut-check to see if they keep fighting. If it is close at half and Timberline buckles at the knees then look out.
Gridiron’s Pick: Timberline throws its way to a big score and a victory that could be close or by a wide margin depending on Nanaimo's mental state.
Handsworth vs Seaquam
OK, this is the last call for a Prepchuck turn-around. If it is going to start happening, it is now. Even if they lose, but play good people better be taking note around the league. I just don't see Seaquam laying an egg on this one, just can't see that happening. Seaquam will dominate this game in every phase of the game, particularly the physical phase.
Gridiron’s Pick: The Royals go quietly into that dark-night and Seaquam gains even more momentum in a 24-plus point blowout.
Valleyview vs W.L. Seaton
The Vikings are going to run their way to a victory this week vs a Seaton team that couldn't get it done vs Penticton last week. I like the Valleyview earning a #3 seed out of the Interior this Fall.
Gridiron’s Pick: Valleyview by 24.
Burnaby Central vs Hugh Boyd
Lets see here, Boyd coming off of a tough loss, Boyd with a bye week, Boyd beginning their second-season now. The Wildcats will show-up but beyond that the score will be determined by the Trojan coaching staff's better angels and the running clock after the first-quarter.
Gridiron’s Pick: Fourty-eight zero or bigger for the Trojans.
Saturday, 18 October
Penticton High vs Norkam
I like Norkam in this game. Penticton is getting better each week but so are the Saints and their balanced offensive attack will too much finesse for the new guys. Norkam is going to be a playoff team this year and is going to be aiming to get their level of play up a notch for the post-season.
Gridiron’s Pick: Norkam by four scores or more.
Vernon vs Clarence Fulton
The Maroons are the top dogs of the city of Vernon and every year the other schools mark their game vs Fulton with extra thick ink and circle it. There is no doubt in my mind that this game will be the talk of the town all week and Vernon will be jacked! Coach Scheller doesn't lose many games in Interior play and this will be no different.
Gridiron’s Pick: Maroons by 18
Mission vs South Delta
Folks, this is part one of the two big statement games of October for the Sundevils. Mission, if ever you guys needed to pull off a big upset, this is it. I have come to admire both coaching staffs over the past couple of years and they are fast burning the midnight oil for this one. South Delta will be borrowing some of Seaquam's cliff notes but will be going to the dance with South Delta athletes, not Seaquam athletes. Mission, well, when have they had a week-off this season? The roadrunners know how to play in big tilts as well. The weather will affect the day to some degree but ultimately it will be the Mission defense and special teams that clinch it one way or another. South Delta is a gooood football team gang and that trident that the Sundevil mascot has in his hand looks good for roasting chickens and yep, Roadrunners too.
Gridiron’s Pick: South Delta by 16