Sunday, October 19, 2008

AA Varsity Week Eight

Week Seven Round-Up

Friday opened up with Lord Tweedsmuir, Hugh Boyd, Seaquam and John Barsby taking care of business by big scores. No surprises there. Two games of note were the Nanaimo District/Timberline shoot-out and the Hansen/Marriot Hansen game where Hansen made its move on a playoff berth. On the Island Friday, a rare event occurred for any level of ball in BC as 111 points were scored in a single game! The Islanders rallied from a tough rivalry loss last week versus Barsby by putting on an offensive and physical show en-route to scoring 62 points while rushing for get-this, 630 yards on a shocked Timberline crew! The Wolves posted big passing and rushing numbers themselves but the double-wing buzz saw was more consistent than Timberline’s fun and gun passing attack when it came to putting up the points. Word has it that kid flipping the scoreboard numbers at the game has been hospitalized with some form of carpal-tunnel syndrome. The Hansen-Marriot tilt was a 20-0 shut-out for the improving and hungry Hurricanes. Next week’s contest vs Mission now looms ever larger.

Saturday saw Clarence Fulton continue its Interior dominating ways with a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback vs a pumped Vernon squad while South Delta posted a lop-sided and very complete victory over the shorthanded Mission Roadrunners. South Delta looks to be the dominant team in 08 in the eyes of many an observer and will go on to face its most serious AA challenge yet when they play the Lord Tweeedsmuir Panthers this coming weekend..

Week Seven Scores

Friday Scores

Lord Tweedsmuir 44 Frank Hurt 0
John Barsby 42 Belmont 0
Earl Marriot 0 Rick Hansen 20
Nanaimo District 62 Timberline 49
Handsworth 0 Seaquam 27
Valleyview 18 WL Seaton 0
Burnaby Central 0 Hugh Boyd 48

Saturday Scores

Vernon 17 Fulton 20
Mission 0 South Delta 49

Week 8 "Separation Weekend"!

Week Seven has given us all a hint of how things are going to settle for 08 but ultimately it is Separation Weekend (Week 8) that is going to clear the picture greatly.

For flavor, on Thursday afternoon John Barsby hosts the tough and dangerous Earl Marriot Mariners in "The Cage". There is also some Island-LM smack to be dealt with on Thursday as well.

Friday brings a few more important contests of its own. Timberline and Belmont are going to largely know its playoff fate when the Wolves travel down to Belmont for a key Island contest. Rick Hansen and Mission are going to be playing lights- out Friday afternoon as they struggle for not only Valley bragging rights, but 3rd and fourth seed in the big dance! Hugh Boyd seeks to clinch a third place berth out of the West when they tangle with the Royals at home.

On Saturday, the number one and two seed out fo the Interior are likely to be decided when OKM comes a calling on Fulton's Maroons. Ballenas can clinch at least a number 2 seed off of the Island should they get by the always physical Nanaimo District Islanders. The two Marquee match-ups on Separation Saturday are going to be Seaquam hosting Windsor for the number one and two seeds out of the West and the much anticipated East Conference Gotterhamrung between South Delta and the visiting Panthers of Lord Tweedsmuir.

When all the muddy uniforms hit the Laundry basket on Saturday night, the stars will be mostly lined-up for the post-season dance. It's getting exciting folks, its really getting exciting!!

Gridiron's Week Eight Top Ten

1. Seaquam (6-1)
2. South Delta (6-1)
3. Ballenas (4-1-1)
4. John Barsby (7-0)
5. Lord Tweedsmuir (5-2)
6. Windsor (3-2)
7. Hugh Boyd (4-2)
8. Mission (4-3)
9. Rick Hansen (4-3)
10. Okanagen Mission (4-1)

Gridiron's Week 8 Picks

Thursday, 23 October

John Barsby vs Earl Marriot

A short practice week for both squads means there will be a lot of coaching and playing on the fly come Thursday in "The Cage". Marriot brings a very talented squad across the waters and by all accounts plays a tough, blitz orientated style of defense. The Dawgs of Barsby have been running and passing with good balance so it may take a quarter or so for each squad to figure out the other. Folks, don't let Marriot's record fool you. They play in a very tough conference through and through where losing means that you like as not lost to a high quality opponent. This is a huge statement game for Marriot as they seek to gain back program momentum heading into the off-season. Barsby has won the games they should have won this year playing a much easier schedule than Marriot and is looking to improve its overall record to 8-0. This game will be no cake-walk.

Gridiron's Pick: Barsby by one score.

Friday, 24 October

Belmont vs Timberline

Two battered and bruised, wounded animals will grapple down in Victoria as the Blue-Bulldogs of Belmont host the Wolves of Timberline. Timberline posted it's only win this season versus Belmont up in Campbell River several weeks back, but the season has taken its toll on them in physical consecutive games vs Barsby, Ballenas and Nanaimo District. On top of this, the Wolves have to travel 3 hours to play their hosts. Still, Belmont has to learn how to cover the pass and Timberline rains deep balls on opponents. If Belmont can get a lot of heat on the Timberline QB we may have a game on our hands. If not, this will be a blow-out. Beyond pressuring the QB Belmont also has to look in the mirror and find its physical-self. Timberline has proven week-in and week-out that it is not a second-half team in 2008. If Belmont can keep it physical and pour on the pressure in the second half as well as the first, we could see an upset.

Gridiron’s Pick: In terms of talent, this is a draw. Timberline however, knows how to play football better than Belmont does and will drop buckets all-day. Timberline by 24.

Rick Hansen vs Mission

Back in the day, Coach Watrin (Mission) used to be the closest thing we had in BC to a JV coaching legend when he was the JV HC at Rick Hansen. Now he brings the sharp-end of the mature Mission football program back to his old haunts. Mission was short handed during the blow-out they endured vs S. Deltal last week. This week they aren't and we all know that HS football players are incredibly resilient emotionally and physically. Hansen, is gelling as a team at precisely the right-time in the season. Coach Gill and co. have done a bang-up job and will bring a solid running game to the contest versus the Roadrunners. So here is my take: Hansen has to slow down the Mission offense. The best way to do this is to keep it off of the field. Look for a big effort on the ground with some PAP from the Hurricanes. Mission is going to have to look in the mirror and make a commitment to stopping the run this week. Defensively for the Hurricanes, slowing down the Mission attack and forcing them to punt at least 3 times during the game will keep the score close. You can be sure that both coaching staffs have been eying each other up for weeks now and the preparations will be complete heading into the game.

Gridiron’s Pick: Hansen by 8 points scored with some tough running.

Frank Hurt vs Langley

Two teams with nothing left to play for except pride, love of the game and momentum heading into the off-season. Those reasons, particularly love of the game, are more than enough to make this a fun game of football for all involved. Langley is in year two and Frank Hurt is in the midst of a rebuild. Both squads have had their positive moments this year. The Hornets seem to catch fire when they feel like they are in a game they can win. They've got that loving feeling, wo-oh that loving feeling!

Gridiron’s Pick: Hornets by 14

Norkam vs Valleyview

Norkam is playing better football all around than Valleyview has been. It will be tight but the Saints march past the Vikes in this Kamloops rivalry game.

Gridiron’s Pick: Norkam by 10

Hugh Boyd vs Handsworth

Looking at the Handsworth score vs Seaquam last weekend I could see and feel the Royals improving. A 27-0 loss to Seaquam may seem like a thrashing but when you look at the quality of Seaquam vs the Handsworth season as a whole this is improvement. I see more improvent this week from Handsworth as well but they will run into a fresh Hugh Boyd squad that is looking to dial-up their game versus some competition for the first time in three weeks. The Trojans have too many horses for the Royals in this one.

Gridiron’s Pick: Boyd by 34

Saturday, 25 October

Clarence Fulton vs Okanagen Mission

This is easily the biggest game in the Interior for 2008. At stake is the number 1 playoff seed out of the conference and possibly a change of the guard in terms of who is top rail in the Interior. Fulton has owned that position for years but OKM has been narrowing the gap for several years now. The Huskies have some serious balance in their offense this year and have picked-up their physical game as well. They have not lost a game since the opening contest in September as well. Fulton comes off of an emotional come from behind win this past weekend and will pick-up in terms of intensity from where they left off. This is a tough-one to call, especially since Fulton is the home team.

Gridiron’s Pick: Huskies surprise in a 2 pt. win.

Nanaimo vs Ballenas

What do the Islanders do for an encore? The Ballenas coaching staff surely took note of last weekend's offensive performance by the Islanders, hec how could anyone overlook that show!! Ballenas however plays great, physical defense and has been facing the double-wing on its schedule since Barsby brought it along in 2002. I really don't think we will see 62 pts. on the scoreboard this Saturday. Offensivley, the Whalers are very balanced under OC Wunderkind Jeremy Conn's leadership. The Islanders are in a position this weekend that they may not have expected to be in, as a victory would put them in the driver's seat for a number 2 playoff seed. A Ballenas victory would add more intensity and meaning to the Halloween Day Border Battle vs John Barsby.

Gridiron’s Pick: Ballenas by 40 after a quick- start.

South Delta vs Lord Tweedsmuir

Recent posts on the BC High School forum are giving this game the flavor of being the football equivilent of WW 2's greatest battle; the battle of Stalingrad! Much like Von Paulus's never beaten, unstoppable and victorious 6th Army, the South Delta Sundevils have marched to the gates of the divisional title that Lord Tweedsmuir thinks of as its own. Here, in week 8 the fate of the East Conference and quite possibley the 2008 AA Varsity Football Season will be decided. The BC high school football world holds its breath as the two great football collossusses come to grips in the mud, blood and sweat of the South Delta field.

This game will be close throughout if Tweesmuir can defend the pass. A shoving contest is what the Panthers want. South Delta on the other hand, wants to get the ball out in space in the hands of its terrific "skill position" athletes. Offensively, Tweedsmuir can ill afford to nickel and dime the Sundevils. They have to hit-em with a fist and pour on the power football start-to-finish. Turnovers in this scenario will be killer for either squad.

South Delta has had great game plans all year which they methodically execute. If this is the case again and the Sundevils get an early couple TD's vs LT, then there is a good chance that the ultra-jacked Panthers will implode emotionally. If they stay on an even-keel emotionally, they have a chance.

Gridiron’s Pick: South Delta by 14 as they find some cracks in LT's perimeter and drive-em into "The Volga".

Seaquam vs Windsor

The Best in The West will emerge after this contest. Both teams are magnificently coached, both teams will have great scouts on one another, both teams are fundamentally and technically sound. What's going to give? Seaquam has better athletes, thats what. I think that the the Windsor offense will never quite get rolling in this one and Seaquam will have just enough big plays to get them by. Special teams are a draw.

Gridiron’s Pick: Seaquam by 14

W.L. Seaton vs Vernon

Hey Vernon, props to you guys for your performance vs Fulton last weekend. We were all pleasantly surprised by your efforts! Take that 4th quarter and treat it like a friend. Learn from it and be ready the next time you are in a similar situation. This weekends tilt vs Seaton is going to be about regaining momentum for Vernon and it is going to be a blowout versus the lack-luster Sonics.

Gridiron’s Pick: Vernon by 30

2008 AA Varsity Playoff Draw

Separation weekend is going to plug-in a lot of the first-round playoff games for November 7/8 Weekend. Get your pencils and paper out and start doing the math. Now, as an aside, there is going to be a lot of pee'ing and moaning on the forum about who deserves how many berths to the playoffs based on strength of conference etc. Gang, this is a PROVINCIAL LEAGUE with conferences set-up by the executive REGIONALLY. Everybody pays the same dues to play in the same league. Nobody is savaunt enough to pick-who will win what each year prior to the first game being played. Ultimately, the best teams will be playing the best teams by the semi-finals. Uneven conferences?? Well, at the start of the year they were relatively even in numbers. Known Collapsers like Sentinel were allowed back in the league and a new team got in under the radar (Parklands). The remedy is a simple one: New teams and teams coming back from folding should never be allowed to participate in AA until they have spent a year in Tier 2 proving they know how to run a football program. Further, it should be the discretion of the BCSSFA executive to allow them on to the AA schedule proper. Secondly, uneven conference quality...Blend the Island in with the Lower Mainland conferences. That got nixed a couple years ago because the LM did not want non-regional conferences. The Island is fine either way.

Editorializing aside, here is the playoff-draw:

2008 AA Varsity Playoff Bracket

East #1
Island #4
Interior #2
West #3
Winner A
Interior #1
East #4
Island #3
West #2

BC Championship

West #4
East #2
Interior #3
Winner B
West #1
Interior #4

East #3 __________
Island #2

Have a great week everybody! The Weekend cannot come soon enough!!

No comments: