Sunday, December 6, 2009

2009 and Transitions Ahead

The Subway Bowl has ended with Mt. Douglas finishing off the Windsor Duke's cinderalla-ride through the playoffs with a 41-20 victory. The Rams complete the season 12-0 and the victory was all the more sweet coming off of a 61-35 JV victory on Friday night vs the Mission Roadrunners at AA JV.

Mt. Douglas transitioned to AA ball in 2009 to rebuild a program that the coaching staff expressed concern over late in 2008. Was the move worth-it? You bet. Interest in the Football Program at the school has never been higher and projected roster numbers for 2010 will be higher than what was expected a year ago. The Rams will be moving to AAA competition next year and we wish them the best of luck. Given the strides this program has taken forward in 09, the Rams ought to be quite competitive the next couple of years at the AAA level.

Windsor, laden with 10th and 11th graders this year has positioned itself to be the early favorites to win it all in 2010. This program is just that, a "program" and several years of playoff experience has added-up to a group of underclassmen who know how to compete in the biggest games. Also, going three and four weeks into the playoffs year-after-year is huge from a developmental process as the cumulative amount of practice and preparation over this period is darn near the equivilent of getting a whole other season under their belts. Playoff practices are very high quality too!

Sooo, lets look at 2010. There are changes in the works in terms of conference alignments etc.

Firstly, I want to make a statement. There is a group of players and coaches in BC High School Football who practice, prepare, and compete just as hard as anyone at any tier in BCHS football. The coaches volunteer just as much time as their colleagues at other levels and all pour their passion and energy into the game of HS Football as proportionately and earnestly as everyone else. This group pays the same financial dues as all other programs and are members in good standing of BCSSFA. They are Tier 2 competitors. They are also media orphans who seem to get a bit of an organizational snub. Well, no longer. Time and energy allowing, Tier 2 is going to get covered on this site in 2010. From this group will emerge some great athletes and some programs who will find their feet and become lasting competitors at AA and AAA ball. For a multitude of reasons, be it demographics, coaching shortages, geography, other monopolizing programs in their buildings, or a combination of some or all of the above, these teams cannot compete at AA or AAA over the long haul of a season. Tier 2 is just the place and as the group grows and finds a measure of consistency, it is becoming quite a dynamic enterprise.

2010 Provincial SITREP (Situation Report)

Lets take a north-to-south look at the province: The Prince George (North)Conference just finished its innaugural year of full-blown BCHS play. Some valuable lessons have been learned up by the big bend in The Fraser and this group only stands to get better. The Prince George group will likely all play football at the AA tier in 2010.

The "Interior", notably Kamloops is going through some big adjustments. NorKam is going to be a Sr. High only with the other schools in the town maintaining JV programs. This translates to NorKam and South Kamloops becoming cross-town AAA rivals. Managed correctly and with much effort put into their JV feeder schools, both Kamloops Varsity programs could step closer to a return to the glory days of HS ball in the town when Kam High was a provincial powerhouse. The rest of the interior is going to have to figure out whether or not it is going to play AA varsity or tier 2 ball. Clarence Fulton and OKM are for sure going to be in the AA mix. The rest of the Vernon schools are a toss-up. Fulton and OKM are going to need to schedule as much quality competition into their 2010 season as possible in an attempt to be ready for the Lower Mainland/Island powerhouses come playoff time.


The Island will witness the departure of Mt. Douglas to AAA ball as they have already declared their intent to move to that tier. Timberline HS, who moved to tier 2 as a part of a measured decision to save the program early last September, has found that league to be a good fit. The Wolves won the Tier 2 Championship (Ackles Cup)and are not going to return to AA ball in 2010. Timberline will be joined by Belmont HS which will make for a very competitive Island/LM division at that level: EJ Milne, Belmont,Gulf Islands???, Nanaimo District, Mark Isfeld, G.P. Vanier, and Timberline.

On the Lower Mainland there is movement too. With the on-field success of their seasons at Tier 2, Howe Sound and Moscrop are beginning to mature quite nicely. These programs will be joined by Frank Hurt who has rapidly fallen into "life-support status" after the departure of the Coach Biggen/Heskin regime (smart move whoever made their position untennable!) There will be in all probability a Lower Mainland addition to AA varsity play in 2010 as Pinetree HS will be fielding a varsity squad after a year of in-house rebuilding at the JV level. Also, it appears that the AA Lower Mainland schools find being included in a conference with Island schools to be a travel burden that is excessive. Windsor and Handsworth in particular will likely rotate to the valley conference in 2010 and be replaced in the coastal conference by some Delta area schools (close to ferry terminal). This move and rationale will ultimately be laughable if either school (Handsworth in Particular)then goes on and schedules a pre-season exhibition game in California as in years past. We will see.

What it all boils down to is fourteen teams divided in to two divisions in the Lower-Mainland/Island.

GI's Projected 2010 AA Varsity Football Tier

Coastal Conference

1. John Barsby
2. Ballenas
3. South Delta
4. Sands
5. Seaquam
6. Hugh Boyd
7. Pinetree

Valley Conference

1. Windsor
2. Handsworth
3. Langley
4. Pitt Meadows
5. Mission
6. Abbottsford
7. Rick Hansen


1. Okanagen Mission
2. Clarence Fulton
3. Kalmalka
4. Vernon
5. Seaton


1. Prince George
2. Kelley Road
3. College Heights
4. Dutchess Park
5. Correlieu (Quesnel)
6. Nechako Valley (Vanderhoof)
7. DP Todd???

2010 Earliest AA Varsity Pre-Season Rankings in History

1. Windsor Dukes
2. Sands Scorpions
3. South Delta SunDevils
4. Mission Roadrunners
5. Handsworth Royals
6. John Barsby Bulldogs
7. Rick Hansen Hurricanes
8. Seaquam SeaHawks
9. Pitt Meadows Panthers
10. Okanagen Mission Huskies

Tier 2 Projected Conference In Ranked Order

1. Timberline
2. G.P. Vanier
3. Howe Sound
4. Nanaimo District
5. Moscrop
6. Belmont
7. EJ Milne
8. Mark Isfeld
9. Gulf Islands???
10. Frank Hurt

So there you have it. I think that on-balance, the competition will be very balanced throughout both leagues with a couple of exceptions.

It is going to be back to the off-season mode now for everyone. Remember the old saying, "You get better or you get worse, you never stay the same".

I will be writing a lot about program building etc. in the coming months.


Post-Script Comment: The other big winner in 2009 was everyone who bought in to and used the DSV video exchange system. It was terrific once up and running and we will do well to further develop our skills with this system!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Congratulations to Windsor! Through superb coaching and a tremendous effort by the Duke players, AA's winningest program is back in another Subway Bowl. Mt. Douglas has run the table to get there and an undefeated season in AA football is quite an accomplishment.

These two programs have met before in Coastal Conference regular season play with Mt. Douglas emerging the decisive winner of that contest. The Ram Victory is going to be a bit of a psychological hurdle for the Mt. Douglas squad as no matter what the coaches say, the players will have the big win in the back of their minds as they prepare for this coming weekend's contest. Another hurdle for Mt. Douglas will be travelling to Langley from the Island whereas the Dukes have maybe a 45 minute commute to the game.

Beyond these challenges, the cards line up for Mt. Douglas in most areas of the game.

Size: Mt. Douglas
Speed: Mt. Douglas
Quarterback: Mt. Douglas
Physicality: Mt. Douglas
and so-on and so-on.

The game will hinge on big plays. Mt. Douglas has featured quick-strike, big plays all year long. Windsor is a grinder that makes very few mistakes. In short, the Dukes do not find ways to beat themselves. I think that for the Dukes to have a chance, they have to follow their playoff recipe to-date, which is to keep things close to the late minutes and then be opportunistic with their opponent's mistakes. Mt. Douglas on the other hand, needs to get big separation on the scoreboard as early as possible. The Rams can score on the ground and in the air with equal prowess. Windsor is going to find it hard to match-up everywhere at once.

GI's Pick: Mt. Douglas has too many ways to score for the Dukes to keep-up. It has been a great run Windsor, but it ends on Saturday. Mt. Douglas 26, Windsor 13.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


And then there were four!

This past weekend saw grade 11/12 HS kids do what they do best; which is surprise, overachieve and create their own special brand of magic on the gridiron. Dang this game is fun!

Sands and Windsor, I gotta hand it to you guys and your coaches! Well done. I can honestly say that your upset victories have put a blemish on GI's 09 season-long string of very accurate picks. Thats why the game is played eh, the pundits cannot make a tackle, a block, a catch etc. It is up to the 22 players on the field to do that come game-time!

This weekend's games AA


12:30 p.m. -- Mt. Douglas vs. Rick Hansen
3 p.m. -- Sands vs. Windsor

Mt. Douglas vs Rick Hansen

The two remaining "Heavy Weight" rosters collide. This is a whole lot like Foreman-Ali or Frazier-Ali back when Boxing was still real.

Soooo: Tail of the Tape

Size: A slight edge to Mt. Douglas
Speed: Mt. Douglas
Depth: Mt. Douglas
Defense: Mt. Douglas (Front-7 in particular)
Offense: Rick Hansen
Big Play via the Air: Mt. Douglas
Short Passing: Rick Hansen
Coaching Depth by Position: Mt. Douglas
Head Coach: I like both for different reasons.
Intangibles:Rick Hansen
QB: Rick Hansen
O. Line: Draw
D. Line: Rick Hansen
LB's: Draw
DB's: Mt. Douglas
RB's: Draw
Rcvrs: Mt. Douglas
Kicking Game: Rick Hansen
Punting Game: Mt. Douglas by a massive landslide****take note of this come gameday!
Players who originated from "out-of catchment..g.9 yr." The all-star factor...Mt. Douglas

All year, Mt. Douglas has dominated the scores with the exception of a red hot early season South Delta team. Mt. Douglas has won in all kinds of weather. Hansen has a ton of character and has won close games. Mt. Douglas has not played from behind or more than a score behind this year. When they get punched hard in the mouth so-to-speak, or are faced with the unexpected in terms of offensive formations/schemes they wobble a bit mentally.

GI's Pick: Do the math and look at the entire season/post-season's body of work. Mt. Douglas will win by 18 plus after being challenged early. This is essentially home field for Hansen and the lack of a long travel day will work in their favor at first. Then the cream rises.

Windsor vs Sands

Hey, Holy Smokes...two small schools playing each other in a semi-final game!! I'll be damned!! Yeah, one of these teams got some great enrollment breaks the last couple years at JV but still, it is a small school match-up which warms the AA heart!

Well Sands, you are now healthy, you guys have gotten the post-season religion and you just whacked AAA dropdown S. Delta convincingly. Looks pretty good for you guys. In the back of your coaching staff's heads there is a clock ticking. No JV squad this year means you have this year and next to claw at the championship. Your colleagues at Mt. Douglas may have a decisive say on this year's end-game as you taught them so well. I digress.! We all stand in awe. Football, of all the schoolastic sports, is the game where a coach/staff can have the biggest influence in a game's outcome once the first whistle is blown. Coach Schuman/Wilson's double headed monster of prep and technical prowness is unmatched. Now fellas, you are entering a game where when you look back on it, you will have to do/have done your best work as coaches. Your starting RB is banged-up and here is the true test of "The Power of Program" as a nameless, faceless, young Duke will have to step-up and answer the call. I believe without a doubt that this will happen.

The tale of the Tape

Size: Sands
Speed: Slight Edge to Sands
Coaching: Dukes (Coach U is good but two good coaches beat one)
Toughness: I like both for different reasons. Sands is big-time physical, Windsor is mentally tough in the close ones.
Discipline: Windsor
Offensive Line: Windsor
Defensive Line: Sands
RB's: Sands
LB's: Sands
Rcvrs: Windsor
DB's: Windsor
QB's: Draw
Kicking Game: Windsor
Punting Game: Windsor
Intangibles: Windsor
Players who originated from "out-of catchment g. 9 yr." The all-star factor...Sands
Previous Common Opponents: Seaquam dusted Sands. Windsor just beat Seaquam.

GI's Pick: Sands will come out and try to truck the Dukes. They may do this at first, but will get bogged down in the trenches by mid-second quarter. The Dukes will have found holes in the Scorpion O and D through thorough scouting and will take their shots on both sides of the ball. Windsor by 4.

This weekend's games AAA

5:30 p.m. -- Centennial vs. New Westminster
8 p.m. -- Vancouver College vs. W.J. Mouat

I have posted the AAA games just to make a point regarding an earlier post on this site. Sure enough, the "AAA window dressing" bowed out and the perennial AAA powers are now in the semi-finals. Again, this illustrates very well the illusion that AAA ball is balanced. It is again this year obvious that there is a super-conference lurking inside a hubris of teams that don't have a prayer to make it to the Subway Bowl. It looks good in the newspaper to portray AAA as a provincial league, but that is a myth. Every year, the whitewash gets peeled away and then gets repainted. Keep drinking the Kool-Aide guys, most of you will never get a sniff at the Subway Bowl. It is is intellectually dishonest or flat out ignorant to look your players in the eye come early September and tell them they have a realistic chance of going to the big show. Sit down this Dec. look in the mirror and ask yourself if you want to continue with the status quo? Quietly going along is the equivelent of support. There is no shame in asking questions or seeking to improve the formula. Why let others lead by default? Be right as opposed to being liked.

All Rants aside, now that the legitimate super-conference teams have emerged from the smoke and mirrors here are GI's picks:

New Westminster vs Centennial

All things considered, the athletes match-up well and hey, neither team arrived at this game because the coaching has been poor. Mother Nature will have her say this weekend and now she has decided to let the Pacific Northwest act like the Pacific Northwest, we will find out which team can play wind blown, amphibian football better. I like New West because their system can roll without run-pass balance better than Centennials. Wing-T passes are high percentage and the PAP is built-in from the start of spring practice. Centennial will have to do some playbook pruning and the net result will be less grass for the New West defenders to have to cover.

GI's Pick: New Westminster by 10

Vancouver College vs WJ Mouat

Terrific Match-Up here gang! Both squads can run the football with anyone and both are loaded with speed and athletes!! At face value, picking a winner in this game might as well come down to a coin-flip. In fact, to paraphrase John Candy from back in the day, a lot of people figure they have as much of a chance picking a winnerin this game as they do playing a game of pick-up sticks with their butt cheeks! To get a hint at what could unfold, it is a good idea to turn back the page to a couple of weeks ago when New West lost to the Irish at O'Hagen. Mouat has similar offensive
DNA in their system and VC knows how to defend it. I think this is where the deadlock starts to crumble. Size to the Irish, speed is a draw and coaching...Denis Kelley is darn near peerless but, he runs only .5 of the ball (offense). The Irish system is superb and Coach Bernett is underrated. He gets to the big dance with greater frequency than anyone and though the big game has been elusive, the body of work to get there speaks for itself.

GI's Pick: When this one shakes down, it will be very close. If the Irish can weather some big-shots in the trick play category and Mouat offensive wrinkles, they will relentlessly and surely gain the upper-hand in this contest. Irish by 8.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

GI's Quarter-Final Picks


For fans of Darwinism is there anything quite like the playoffs? What hardy physical trait will propel one squad forward over its adversary? What offensive or defensive trait gives one opponent a competitive advantage over the other? Will brains trump brawn on a given day? Will one team thrive in adverse weather while another falters???

Well one thing is for certain, the ol 19th century bearded fellow who tipped everything on its ear would certainly find his interest tweaked in the analogy.

Sailing upon the HMS GI Beagle, there is time by the candlelight to pen a few thoughts on this weekend.

GI's Picks

Seaquam vs Windsor

This will easily be the best game of the weekend. These two teams can and do run the ball! Windsor beware however! Seaquam can chuck it better than you may think and if they think they can spread it out on you, they will. Don't put your defensive eggs in one basket. Seaquam, beware! If you have any defensive cracks in your armour Coach Schuman will find them and blow them apart. Windsor is also not all about I-Backs and smashing the ball. The difference in this game in many observer circles is thought to be the play up front. Seaquam is stronger and more physical. Windsor is better technically and adjusts far better during the game than their opponent will. The battle at the LOS is going to be a relative draw. The difference according to GI is going to be the vertical passing game and broken plays.

GI's Pick: Windsor may actually lead this game on the scoreboard but does not have as many "big play guys" as Seaquam. A tight game will get away from the Dukes.

Seaquam by 10

Rick Hansen vs OKM

Hansen has a ton of momentum and will not get surpised this week. OKM is good, well coached and has some very talented players. Hansen is however, going to be overwhelming up-front and this will make for a steady clock-munching accumulation of points on the scoreboard.

GI's Pick: Hurricanes by 28

Mt. Douglas vs Mission

Great job Coach Watrin last Friday vs the Royals. Now you and the Roadrunners are going to face by far the toughest opponent you have seen all year. The Mt. Douglas Rams are well coached and have the greatest accumulation of size and talent in AA ball. Unless they seriously mis-step this weekend, the Rams will bowl over their Mission opponents. Mt. Douglas is multi-dimensional on offense and defensively they match Mission's speed while seriously outsizing the Roadrunners.

GI's Pick: The football math does not add-up for Mission. Mt. Douglas by 34.

Sands vs S. Delta

Sands is big and strong, but will not win a game versus a dynamic team like South Delta by running Dive, Iso, Toss and PAP off of them from I backs. The Scorpions look mid-level on the tough scale as well. S. Delta can play smashmouth and on offense they are extremely well coached, prepped and guided by a hit ya quick playbook. Make no mistake, I am not bagging on Sands here, they are just outmatched. Next year the Scorpions are scarey. This year they are bugs on South Delta's pavement and the SunDevils wear big boots.

GI's Pick:
S. Delta by 22 plus by air, land and if you could score using the ocean..sea.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Rick Hansen vs John Barsby:

The number two Valley seed Rick Hansen Hurricanes are heavy favorites headed into this contest against Nanaimo's John Barsby Bulldogs. Hansen has a terrific mix of power football and high percentage passing along with rock-ribbed defense. The Hurricanes are red-hot headed into this contest coming off of a series of big conference wins. Barsby is a physical squad that has played competitive ball vs the big boys in its conference but has not found the end-zone often enough to win the close games thus far. There will be no second chances for Barsby this time around and they will have to get more production offensively in order to prevail.

GI's Pick: Hansen has been very consistent, largely error free and they are playing their best ball right now. This makes them heavy favorites vs JB. Hansen by 18

Handsworth vs Mission:

This will be a great game if Mission can get its offense rolling. This is a big "if" as Handsworth has been ratcheting up its defense since mid-season culminating in a terrific game vs a potent S. Delta offense this past weekend. Offensively, Handsworth is not explosive, but, they are superb grinders who are opportunistic with the big play when it presents itself. Watching two HS greats like Coach Prepchuck and Coach Watrin go at it is worth the price of admission as well.

GI's Pick: Handsworth is a much, much better team than in mid-season. Royals by 16

Pitt Meadows vs Windsor:

Can anyone out-prep the coach Schuman/Wilson combo? Have not seen that yet. Windsor is flat out superior up front and will chip away offensively until Pitt's dam breaks. Pitt is scrappy and does not have a lot of quit in them. This game will be one of those clock eating affairs where Windsor has the long drives and plays the field position game with specials. Pitt will live and die with the big play and could threaten if Windsor loses the turnover battle.

GI's Pick: Windsor by 18

OKM vs Correlieu

Correlieu is a big school that brings a punishing run-game to the dance. OKM has played and quite frankly dominated in a run heavy league this year. The OKM passing game is way more sophisticated than anything the boys from up-North have faced all year long and this will be their downfall. OKM will hang-up some big points offensively and ought to at least slow down the Correlieu ground game enough to get some separation on the scoreboard.

GI's Pick: OKM by 24

Sands vs Norkam

Congrats Norkam for making it this far! Two years of playoffs for your sr.'s is nothing to sneeze at. Unfortunately it will all end on this weekend for the Saints. Sands is just too big and strong to be stopped and will be playing its best power running football in the best power running football weather of the season. Defensively the Scorpions can play with Norkam's style of game and the Scorpions will score often and early during this contest. The big evener in this game could be turnovers and some big plays through the air for Norkam. It is high school ball and you just never, ever know with 16/17 year olds.

GI's Pick: Sands by 35

Friday, November 6, 2009

2010 Tiering and Alignments

Greetings All,

BC High School Football is evolving at a rapid pace and as with all evolutionary change, there are winners and losers. Without some forsight and stewardship, a form of Football Darwinism sets in that at times rational,can and ought to be tweaked to provide the greatest good for the greatest number of programs.

At present we have a numbers based tiering system that is archaic (AA and AAA cut-off at 300 boys g. 11/12 dates back to pre-1995...yep over fifteen years ago)and is loosely applied (we keep finding exceptions to the numbers and granting "stays of execution" so-to-speak.)

I am going to forward the idea that the 300 mark for AA and AAA cutoff is too high and that the problems we are encountering will only worsten as a result.

Firstly, lets talk AAA ball as it currently exists. There are two definite tiers within the current group. There are the elite public schools with numbers exceeding 400 boys g. 11/12 (and very good coaches to accompany them) along with the Catholic schools with their tradition, alumni base and well established ratlines for players to follow to gain entry. These schools also have first rate coaching staffs with great continuity in terms of staff turnover. It is a winning combination and no slight to any of these afformentioned programs for their hard-work and program building prowness.

The second tier within AAA ball is window dressing to make the league seem like a more legitimate provincial entity when it is not. This window dressing is composed of public schools in the Interior and Lower Mainland that earnestly try, but, by virtue of a variety of factors from school size to geographic isolation, have not consistently demonstrated an ability to compete at the elite levels of AAA. In fact, none of them have made a Subway Bowl appearance (Hansen excepted) in over two decades! Quite frankly, it is pretentious to think of this as a uniform group of teams in a homogenous tier.

At the other end of our current tiering system there is Tier 2. As a stop gap attempt to ressucitate faltering programs and eliminate the impact of bye games due to folding/plain old chickening out of a tough match, this tier was created. Also it was a great way to ease an entirely new conference (North) into existence. The problem now with tier 2 is as follows: It is uneven and will become more uneven as teams attempting to escape their proper numbers tier arrive and hybernate. Worse yet, if the present trend of this tier growing in numbers of programs continues, we will in effect be running a expanding and essentially community football league within our ranks in the guise of HS ball. Worst of all, BCSSFA could wind-up forming a financial addiction to the league fees gathered from this expanding group and then begin to conciously or sub-conciously make decisions based on dollars as opposed to reason. Tier 2 is a good idea but it should be strictly limited in terms of its scope. A short term HS Football triage/recovery center would be a good description.

This year, at AA, the league almost got it right. There were many competitive games (but not enough) in a league that was fairly balanced. I would advocate that with a further adjustment in 2010 we will arrive at a very good model for BC High School Football to follow into the next decade.

What Follows is "The Gridiron Paper"

Football Schools and 2009/10 numbers of Boys G. 11 and 12

1. Kelowna 565
2. New Westminster 564
3. Mt. Boucherie 516
4. Rutland 492
5. Terry Fox 490
6. Belmont 483
7. Centennial 478
8. WJ Mouat 403
9. Pinetree 396
10. West Vancouver 371
11. Penticton 368
12. Earl Marriot 365
13. Salmon Arm 359
14. Prince George 357
15. Mt. Baker 354
16. Langley 351
17. Correlieu 345
18. Abbottsford Collegiate 326
19. GP Vanier 325
20. South Kamloops 322
21. Burnaby Central 322
22. Vancouver College 320
23. Lord Tweedsmuir 319
24. Carson Graham 319
25. Moscrop 298
26. Handsworth 278
27. Seaquam 278
28. Howe Sound 273
29. Mount Douglas 269
30. South Delta 263
31. Rick Hansen 261
32. Frank Hurt 261
33. Timberline 259
34. Ballenas 256
35. Kelley Road 241
36. Nanaimo District 236
37. Pitt Meadows 230
38. Mission 222
39. Windsor 215
40. Hugh Boyd 214
41. Vernon 212
42. Okanagen Mission 205
43. Clarence Fulton 197
44. Gulf Islands 189
45. Dutchess Park 185
46. Mark Isfeld 184
47. Sands 179
48. College Heights 178
49. Edward Milne 170
50. Holy Cross 163
51. W.L. Seaton 159
52. Kalmalka 157
53. John Barsby 153
54. Valleyview 149
55. Westsyde 146
56. Nechako Valley 135
57. St. Thomas More 127
58. Notre Dame 114

AAAA (Catholic Schools and Elite Public Schools)

Vancouver College
Notre Dame
St. Thomas More
Terry Fox
New Westminster
WJ Mouat
Holy Cross

AAA (261 and up)


Mt. Boucherie
Salmon Arm
South Kamloops


Lord Tweedsmuir
Rick Hansen
Earl Marriot
Mt. Douglas
South Delta
Abbottsford Collegiate


Carson Graham
West Vancouver
G.P. Vanier (Home Heavy Schedule to balance travel)
Howe Sound

AA (260 Boys G. 11/12)


Prince George
Kelley Road
College Heights
Dutchess Park
Nechako Valley

** PG and Correlieu: top record goes to Interior Wildcard AAA game.


Okanagen Mission
Clarence Fulton
WL Seaton


John Barsby
Hugh Boyd
Pitt Meadows

Tier 2


Nanaimo District
EJ Milne
Mark Isfeld
Gulf Islands
Burnaby Central
Frank Hurt
Plus expansion teams

Interior Exhibition Squads
Mt. Baker

Looking at this alignment you can see that the competitive and geographic balance is superb. You can also see that there is room to add programs as they enter the league as well as a Tier 2 safety valve that is functional for those in crisis.

The AAA group will now have a competitive playoff and a realistic opportunity to play great, meaningful league and playoff contests while the elite can play at the games widely acknowledged and celebrated pinnacle. AA ball will feature teams with a narrower spectrum of school enrollments as well with superb competitive balance. Lastly, AA will not be fussing about "AAA dropdowns" and in fact there will be way less of a stimulus for these "dropdowns" to occur as AAA will be so inclusive and competitive. Tier 2 will not be a lure either as all the leagues will be competitive.

This is the way to go folks. The current system is very flawed and has alignments that are out of touch with the idea of real competition. Time for new thinking!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

GI's Week 9 Picks

Week 9

Friday, November 6th

Ballenas at Windsor

This will be a very, very good game! The match-ups are good for Ballenas on the perimeter and the battle in the trenches could be a stalemate. Ballenas has better team speed than Windsor as well. The Dukes however, can play the inside game on both sides of the ball like no one else this year. Weather is going to be a big factor in this game!

GI’s Pick: Windsor by 12 in clock-munching fashion.

Rick Hansen at Mission

OK gang, we now have a superb regional rivalry in place between these two programs. The winner of this game will be the number two seed out of the Valley Conference. A few weeks back this was an easy pick to make, but no longer as the Roadrunners have demonstrated great weekly improvement across their mid-to late season schedule. Still you have to have the horses and Hansen seems to have a few more than the boys in green and white.

GI’s Pick: This game could go Mission’s way with some help from the turnover-gods but that is not a certainty. The Hurricanes are also getting better and turning into a category 4 storm. Hansen by 18

South Delta at Handsworth

Upset alert! Yep you read it here. Handsworth is making huge strides towards post-season form and S. Delta though rested, is going to have some bye week rust on em. Now lets be clear, S. Delta has bigger, faster and stronger athletes than Handsworth and that is going to be a massive obstacle for the Royals to overcome. We have all seen this scenario before when Lord Tweedsmuir lost the final to an outmatched Handsworth squad. So here is how I see it: If Handsworth wins the turnover battle, gets S. Delta's offensive number for the day and makes a couple big plays offensively they then have a shot at a victory by the narrowest of margins. If, if, if....

GI's Pick: S. Delta is just plain ol better from an athlete by athlete perspective. Coach Moon and co are no slouches either. S. Delta by 16.

Mt. Douglas at Belmont

Now this game is going to be a reflection of just how bad Mt. Douglas wants to put a stamp on their dominance over the city of Victoria’s gridiron scene. No doubt in my mind that the Rams will light-up Belmont and thrash them about. Belmont on the other hand usually turns in a tough game against their cross-town nemesis.

GI’s Pick: Rams by 48

Saturday, November 7th

Mt. Baker at Norkam

Norkam has too much for poor ol Mt. Baker in every facet of the game. If Mt. Baker shows they will get whumped but good.

GI’s Pick: Norkam by 36

Okanagen Mission at Clarence Fulton

OKM is now the top rail on the interior fence so-to-speak. They are prohibitive favorites in this contest with the only thing against them being that they have to travel on Saturday to play the Maroons. Fulton will give a good account of themselves throughout but they are simply overmatched athletically.

GI’s Pick: OKM by 17

Hugh Boyd at Seaquam

The Trojans are fighting for their playoff lives in this game. They are coming off of a big win vs Sands and will be hanging it all out vs the division leading Seaquam squad. Now folks say that having clinched the divisional title, Seaquam will be resting-up and laying down for this game. Not true, not true by a big stretch. Coach Pechet is not only a competitor but he also knows that you begin your next game playing like you finished your last. Seaquam will be playing to win and winning is pretty much all they have done this year.

GI’s Pick: Seaquam by 14

Langley at Sands

Sands has certainly learned that AA ball is no cakewalk and have suffered some ego stinging losses thus far this year. Fact is, those losses have been by very close scoring margins and the Scorpions are a very dangerous squad. Langley on the other hand is going through continued growing pains as a program as it struggles to get its feet under it from a competitive standpoint. The Saints are in a position of being able to see their breakthrough to the next level but just falling short. If Langley comes together and plays as a unified unit, this game will be closer than some expect. If players desert “the cause” due to a lack of playoff opportunity it could be a horrible blowout. The coaches and teammates of the Saints deserve better than a half-hearted shot.

GI’s Pick: Sands by 24

Pitt Meadows at Abbottsford Collegiate

Pitt has been rock-steady all season and has posted game performances against very tough opponents when those match-ups occurred. This program is headed up. Abbottsford is giving its best week-to-week and gaining valuable competitive experience as a program headed into the 2010 campaign. Pitt is ahead of the curve in this one and the score will bear them out.

GI’s Pick: Pitt by 26

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

GI's Week 8 Picks


Friday, October 30th

Westsyde (Tier 2) at Norkam (Exhibition)

The nod here goes to Norkam. They have been playing better competition consistently and their game will be too polished for the plucky Westsyde crew.
Gridiron’s Pick: Norkam by 18

Rick Hansen at Langley

The Hurricanes are in great late season form and Langley is also taking positive steps towards upping their game of late. Look for a lot of intensity and physical play in this tilt. Hansen brings more balance into the contest and can play the finesse game better than their opponents. Hurricanes beware however, a mental let-down could be problematic. Coach Gill won’t let that occur now.

Gridiron’s Pick: Hurricanes by 24

John Barsby at Windsor

A very interesting match-up for AA fans this Friday afternoon over on Windsor’s home turf. At stake, playoff seeding out of the Coast Conference for 3, 4 and 5. Everything counts in this one including the point spread. If Barsby wins by more than 7 points then they are inside track for #3 seed. If they win by less then Barsby will likely be #5 seed. If the Dukes prevail then they will cruise in to the 3rd seed, Handsworth will be 4th and Barsby 5th. This is all assuming that the Royals cannot prevail in their game vs S. Delta (a pretty good bet). The Dukes are extremely well coached and are relentless up-front and on offense in general. Defensively the Dukes are physical with very good team pursuit. Barsby is coming off of a very physical Border Battle and licking some wounds. The Dawgs however have been getting better week to week as the season has unfolded and match-up pretty good across the board with the Dukes. This game will hinge upon big plays and turnovers. If Barsby comes to play then it will be a very good game indeed. If the Dawgs are not on their A game, Windsor will roll.

Gridiron’s Pick: This one is tough to call. Either team is capeable of a 14 pt. plus victory over its opponent. Home field to Windsor, size to Barsby, speed a draw...Barsby some how, some way takes this one by 4 plus.

Mt. Baker at Okanagen Mission

If Mt. Baker makes the trip they will have travelled a long way to get out-hit, out scored and just plain ol out-footballed by the Huskies. Look for a very big score in this one.
Gridiron’s Pick: OKM by 48 plus in a game that is in running time by the end of the first quarter.

Sands at Hugh Boyd

Ok Hugh Boyd, where have you been all year? This roster is loaded with talent and has superb coaching. The Haddow brothers have a history of late in terms of winning big games. In fact, it was 2005 when the Trojans won the biggest game in program history against yep, the Sands Scorpions. This game is for Hugh Boyd’s playoff life and is a major “respect game” for Sands. If you can get to the park to watch this one, do so!

Gridiron’s Pick: Sands is more physical than Boyd but the Trojans can score in more ways via the air than the Scorpions. Boyd in an upset by 6 points.

Saturday, October 31st

Mt. Douglas at Ballenas

The coaching match-up in this game is going to be very tight and very interesting. Ballenas always plays Mt. Douglas well and the Rams could be getting a touch complacent atop of their league leading roost. This said, Mt. Douglas wins most of the physical match-ups position by position across the offense and defense. Look for Ballenas to rebound after last week’s game vs Barsby with a very game performance.

Gridiron’s Pick: Bigger and Faster is too much for smaller and slower. Mt. Douglas will throw its way deep for multiple big scores. Rams by 28

Pitt Meadows at Mission

Pitt has given a few teams fits this year and matches up very well physically with the Roadrunners. Mission is coached however by one of the best HC’s in BC and has a lot of program momentum pushing it along. Two years ago this group was a superb AA JV semi-finalist and these kids are battle tested in big games.

Gridiron’s Pick: Mission by 12

Abbottsford Collegiate at Seaquam

Time for the SeaHawks to tweak their playbook and look at some bench depth in game conditions while healing the bruises of a punishing physical campaign this season. Also a good time for the coaching staff to insert some confusing junk into the playbook to cloudy the scouting picture for playoff opponents. Abbottsford needs to get what it can out of this game as they continue their program building journey.

Gridiron’s Pick: Seaquam by 38

Belmont at Frank Hurt

Not even close. Belmont will dominate at every position on the field if their roster is intact from early season form. Frank Hurt forfeited a game last week and that cannot be of much help to their players. Belmont has manned-up and played everyone. With a little bit of sugar at the end of their schedule, the “Blue Dogs” will get a W up on the board Saturday.

Gridiron’s Pick: Belmont by 22

Valleyview at Clarence Fulton

The Maroons are talented and well led. Coach Scheller’s teams play their best ball late in the season and 09 is no exception. Look for Fulton to Toss and PAP their way to a big score on their home turf vs the Vikings.

Gridiron’s Pick: Fulton by 22

Monday, October 19, 2009

GI's Week 7 Picks


Friday, October 23rd

Sands at Rick Hansen

This one pretty much decides who is the number two seed coming out of the Valley. Both of these squads are tough and playing great ball at this time. The game is going to represent a gut check for Hansen as they find out for real if they can hang with the more physical run-oriented squads. The Hurricanes played well against Seaquam but not good enough it seems. Conversely, can Sands defend teams with run-pass balance? This is easily one of the top match-ups of the weekend!

Gridiron’s pick: Hansen by 6

Belmont at Handsworth

If this game were played on a Friday night at Belmont’s home turf, it would be a lot closer than it is going to be. I just cannot see Belmont being able to defend the Toss-Counter-PAP that the Royals bring to the contest. Handsworth can defend what Belmont lays down on the offensive side of the ball with ease.

Gridiron’s Pick: Handsworth by 30

Okanagen Mission at Valleyview

Very good match-up here for the first quarter or so until OKM gets rolling. Keep an eye on the Huskies, they have a pretty complete offensive and defensive package. Too many offensive horses for the Vikings to reign in.

Gridiron’s Pick: OKM by 22

Clarence Fulton at Norkam

Saturday, October 24th

Mt. Baker at Westsyde (Tier 2) (Exhibition)

Westsyde will take care of the newcomers in all phases of the game.

Gridiron’s Pick: Westyde by 28

Ballenas at John Barsby

The Border Battle always is fiercely contested and this game will send the losing squad into a dire playoff situation where they have to finish with a victory over Windsor and Windsor has to lose to either JB or Ballenas. Quite frankly, this is the most meaningful Border Battle in the rivalry’s ten year history. Offensively the Whalers bring superb run-pass balance into the contest using multiple offensive formations and ball handlers while Barsby does a similar job from their no huddle-spread. Defensively, both teams play well against the run and like to bring heat. The special teams battle is a virtual draw as well. So what will give? The team that creates the most offensive big plays and takes care of the ball will emerge victorious.

Gridiron’s Pick: Too close to call.

Pitt Meadows at Seaquam

Seaquam has no peers in the Valley Conference. Pitt is a solid middle tier squad in 09 but is out of their league so to speak when they travel to play the Sea Hawks. Pitt would do well to hope that the fumble gods pick their side on a day where Seaquam underestimates their opponent. Barring this, the score will steadily widen as the game progresses.

Gridiron’s Pick: Seaquam by 22.

Langley at Abbottsford Collegiate

It is time for one of these squads to hit scoreboard pay-dirt and that team will be Langley. Langley’s roster is just too big and physical for Abbottsford.

Gridiron’s Pick: Langley by 24

Frank Hurt at South Delta

This game will be on mercy time by the early-mid 2nd quarter at the latest. South Delta is playing it’s best ball of the year right now and Frank Hurt is struggling to get a complete squad on the field. Bring a broom and some mops to clean-up the mess that is going to be left on the field.

Gridiron’s Pick: South Delta by 60 plus.

Hugh Boyd at Mission

Upset alert! Mission is playing great football right now and they get to host the Trojans on Roadrunner turf this Saturday. Boyd has been an enigma thus far playing alternately good and bad on a week to week basis. These two teams usually play some great ball against one another and the game will be close.

Gridiron’s Pick: Mission by 3

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gridiron's Picks Week 6

Week 6

The playoff picture is getting painted this week!


Friday, October 16th

Abbottsford Collegiate at Rick Hansen

Hansen is hitting mid-to late season stride and this will be a good tune up game for the Hurricanes. Abbottsford has to continue to focus on the “little victories” and milestones along the way as it grows into program maturity.

Gridiron’s Pick: Hansen by 34

Handsworth at Windsor

This folks is going to be a barn-burner. Huge playoff stakes are also involved as Winsor seeks to leverage itself into a third or fourth seed playoff seed. Handsworth can pretty much clinch third place in the Coast Division with a victory. Coming off of a second “Island Miracle” performance the Royals have to be believers. Windsor is relentless up front and does not give up on the power running game as witnessed at Mt. Douglas. The advantage in team speed goes to the Dukes as does the “tough factor”. Handsworth will cave in sometime around the mid 3rd quarter.

Gridiron’s Pick: Windsor by 14

Langley at Hugh Boyd

Which Hugh Boyd team will show up for this one and for that matter, which Langley team? Boyd is more disciplined and has more program continuity behind them than does the Saints. Langley has not gotten over the psychological hurdle of playing against the perennial league powers in AA. Boyd has to make a statement to themselves and soon!

Gridiron’s Pick: Boyd by 14 plus.

Norkam at Okanagen Mission

By the looks of things this is going to be a very good match-up. It seems that OKM can match pretty much every team in the Interior AA or AAA physically and this could be the difference maker for the Huskies.

Gridiron’s Pick: OKM by 12

John Barsby at Mt. Douglas

The number 1 ranked and undefeated Mt. Douglas Rams host the John Barsby Bulldogs Friday Night under the lights at Royal Athletic Park. Mt. Douglas has had no difficulty dispatching of teams on their schedule with the exception of a tight game vs S. Delta and they have all the momentum heading into this game. The sheer size of Mt. Douglas presents Barsby with problems up front and their second and third level speed defensively compliments the “Big Uglies” in the pits. Offensively Mt. Douglas can strike at any time via the ground game or the air. Barsby is in tough in this game.

Gridiron’s Pick: Mt. Douglas by 18

Saturday, October 17th

Clarence Fulton at Kalmalka (Tier 2) (Exhibition)

Poor old Kalmalka.. Good in town rivalry game but the Lakers are very overmatched in this contest.

Gridiron’s Pick: Fulton plays its bench en route to a 28 pt. victory.

Valleyview at Mt. Baker

Valleyview plays regular games and is way ahead in the learning curve.

Gridiron’s Pick: Valleyview by 34

Frank Hurt at Ballenas

Frank Hurt is having a tough season and is on the road to the Island which is never an easy trip. Ballenas is really smarting after last week’s Handsworth Heartbreak! The Whalers will likely take this out on the Hornets and look to gain some momentum headed into week 7’s “Border Battle” clash versus Barsby.

Gridiron’s Pick: Ballenas by 48

Pitt Meadows at Sands

Sands is smarting from a three TD defeat at the hands of Seaquam this past Saturday. Pitt is looking to prove it is a contender by upsetting another of the conference powers (Boyd is already “in the bag”. Should Pitt defeat the Scorpions, they can consider themselves in the top echelon of the Coast Conference and a veritable lock for the number 3 seed entering the playoffs. Sands is playing for no less and a loss would put them behind the playoff seeding 8-Ball.

Gridiron’s Pick: Sands by 21

Mission at Seaquam

Mission is really beginning to find its stride headed into the second half of the season. They are going to get tripped up in this game as Seaquam is just too physical and run heavy for the finesse oriented Roadrunner squad.

Gridiron’s Pick: Seaquam by 24

Monday, October 5, 2009

Week 5 Gridiron's Picks


Wow Gang, we are already at mid-season! GI is having a ball as this year's storylines begin to unfold. Every week from here on out there are going to be battles with massive playoff implications. Lots of fun to watch and this week presents no shortage for AA HS Football Fans!!

Friday, October 9th

Westsyde (Tier 2) at Valleyview (Exhibition)

Valleyview has been playing tougher competition week in and week out. Look for the Vikings to blow this one open in the second quarter.

Gridiron's Pick: Valleyview by 21

Pitt Meadows at Langley

A Huge win over Boyd this past Saturday propels Pitt into what will become one of
BC's great rivalry games. Langley on the other hand cemented their mid-tier status with a loss this past weekend to Mission. Two programs going different directions at mid-season.

Gridrion's Pick: Pitt by 18

Handsworth at Ballenas

Ballenas can determine its own playoff destiny with a win vs the Royals and Handsworth can cement its place in the post season dance with a win over the Whalers. We are talking an early October playoff game here folks. Nothing less. The Whalers have dealt the Royals plenty of disappointment over the years and the coach Hines/Conn combo seem to have coach Prepchuck's number.

Gridiron's Pick: Ballenas by 14

Rick Hansen at Hugh Boyd

A very good Seaquam team team knocked Hansen off of its #1 perch last weekend but not by much. This is important to remember because Hansen IS a good squad. Hugh Boyd on the other hand lost to the upstart Pitt Meadows squad in a game that was tight until the dying minutes. This game suddenly looms much larger than it once was as the inside track to a high playoff seed is now on the line with the loser looking at a much tougher road to and in to the post-season dance.

Gridiron's Pick: Rick Hansen is far more complete and will win by 10.

South Delta at Belmont
Belmont is a better team than at any point in its program history. So is South Delta. If the Sundevils get to running downhill mode early in the game we could be at running time by the second half. Belmont has some fight left in them and with a couple breaks they could keep the game interesting for a quarter or so. In the end, South Delta just has too much in the tank.

Gridiron's Pick: South Delta by 48

Saturday, October 10th

John Barsby at Nanaimo District (Tier 2) (Exhibition)

Fast meets slower, bigger meets smaller and so it goes. Nanaimo will certainly have some offensive and defensive wrinkles to present in the ninth annual Ray Kocher Classic but it will be hard to overcome some of the physical mismatches that will present themselves.

Gridiron's Pick: Barsby by 24

Seaquam at Sands

OK gang, two teams that are in many ways mirror images of each other in terms of personality and physicality square off this coming Saturday. At the end of the game both squads will emerge better than when they stepped on to the field. The difference in this one could come down to coaching with the edge in the finesse game going to Seaquam. Can't wait to read the post-game summary!!

Gridorion's Pick: Seaquam by 8

Abbottsford Collegiate at Mission

Mission will own this series for years to come. Coach Watrin has cemented the status of his program and Abbottsford is in a program building cycle that will be several years in progress. Mission can take care of the mid-level and bottom level AA squads without breaking too much of a sweat.

Gridiron's Pick: Mission by 26

Windsor at Mt. Douglas

Back to back weeks against conference powerhouses will certainly test Windsor's mettle at mid-season. The Dukes are gamers and can play well against spread teams. Mt. Douglas had better not take this game for granted and ought to consider pulling a page from S. Delta's power running game.

Gridiron's Pick: Mt. Douglas is too big and strong to get run over by Windsor. They can defend the finesse game too. Mt. Douglas by 16 in a game that is surprisingly close for surprisingly long.

Norkam at Kalmalka (Tier 2) (Exhibition

Norkam is playing very, very good football up in the interior. Kalmalka is not.

Gridiron's Pick: Norkam by 40

Mount Boucherie (AAA) at Clarence Fulton (Exhibition)

Whoa, this will be a very, very good game to watch. Fulton is the real deal in the interior this year and Boucherie is having its struggles this year. Look for some big passing from Fulton.

Gridiron's Pick: The Maroons by 16

Okanagen Mission at Pentiction (Tier 2) (Exhibition)

OKM is going to be a good playoff team, never mind a great mid-season exhibition opponent. Penticton will get smacked and smacked hard.

Gridiron's Pick: OKM by 50

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Week 4 AA Varsity Season 09


Friday October 2nd

Sands at Abbottsford Collegiate
This game is going to be a tough contest for Abbey as the Scorpions are playing rock-solid physical ball. There are easily two tiers within AA itself and Sands is “top rail” in this contest.

Gridiron’s Pick: Sands by 32

Frank Hurt at John Barsby

Frank Hurt may have an opportunity in this game as the Barsby squad is reeling from a heartbreaking loss to the Handsworth Royals this past Friday. Barsby has a veteran squad and is now at 1-2 on the season, playing with a touch of desperation. The Hornets are pretty young across the roster and have better days ahead of them if they stick with it. A ferry trip and a rejuvenated Barsby squad will be too much.

Gridiron’s Pick: Barsby by 24

Mission at Langley

Very evenly matched contest in Langly this Friday with playoff seeding on the line in a big way. Langley is getting closer to breaking into the top echelon of AA varsity play while Mission is in a bit of a rebuild it seems. Should they keep turnovers and mistakes to a minimum, Langley will be tough to beat.

Gridiron’s Pick: Langley by 8 in a back and forth game.

Seaquam at Rick Hansen

Ah yes, a big time game in the Valley. Both teams are hitting their full stride offensively and they are playing some good Defense as well. The two big questions headed into the game: 1) Can Hansen survive the Seaquam onslaught on the ground and 2) Will Seaquam be able to pressure a balanced Hurricane offensive attack?

Gridiron’s Pick: Seaquam by 6 in an “upset”.

Ballenas at Belmont

Ballenas got whacked at South Delta last week physically and mentally. Belmont underachieved against Timberline. One thing is for sure, the atmosphere at Bear Mountain Park is electric and the Belmont players really get off on the crowd. Look for a surprisingly close game if Belmont mans up and decides to run power football. Ballenas is in danger of a dire playoff situation if they lose this game; likewise Belmont.

Gridiron’s Pick: Belmont is close to a breakthrough game but just doesn’t have the killer instinct to win the close ones yet. Ballenas by 6 and then its back to Parksville listening to the 70’s hit Stayin Alive.

Norkam at Valleyview

Norkam just rolled a AAA squad up in Salmon Arm! Well done guys!! Valleyview is really in tough in this game. You gotta go with momentum in this contest and Norkam has it all.

Gridiron’s Pick: Norkam by 22

Pitt Meadows at Hugh Boyd

The Trojans are very, very good and are under the radar a bit on the provincial scene. They will find that their stealthy ways are quickly becoming exposed as they host PMS. Pitt, is solid, but not ready to jump into the same category as Boyd, Sands, Seaquam and Hansen just yet.

Gridiron’s Pick: Hugh Boyd by 21

Saturday, October 3rd

Clarence Fulton at Mt. Baker

Coach Scheller has a very good squad this year as was evident as his Maroons went out and dismantled the visiting AAA Earl Marriot Mariners last week. Next up for a good on-field beating is the newbie Mt. Baker squad from Cranbrook.

Gridiron’s Pick: Fulton by 40

Windsor at South Delta

Great stuff here! Windsor travels to S. Delta for a key Coastal conference tilt. The Sun Devils are very tough to beat at home and will be primed for this game! The wildcard however is the fact that Windsor has opened their season with three cupcake games and Coach Schuman has not had to flex his playbook beyond some garden variety power football out of his I-Back package. S. Delta will have to go back to the video archives of past seasons to have any worthwhile prep for this game. Look for some Windsor wrinkles that catch their opponents flat footed more than once in this game. South Delta may have to play from behind for awhile in this game but their roster is stronger from a purely athletic perspective. In the end, speed and brawn will be tough to overcome.

Gridiron’s Pick: South Delta by 10

Handsworth at Mt. Douglas

Another good game when you look at both team’s ability to execute their respective s’s and o’s. Mt. Douglas clearly has a more athletic roster in terms of size and speed. Handsworth is a game bunch that Barsby found out has little or no quit in them. It is tough to see a Royal victory in this tilt however.

Gridiron’s Pick: Mt. Douglas by 21

Kalmalka (Tier 2) at Okanagen Mission (Exhibition)

OKM is good and Kalmalka is not. Nuff said.

Gridiron’s Pick: OKM by 34

Monday, September 21, 2009


OK Gang,

Big apologies for the week two lapse! Life's priority list was not kind to ol GridIron and his picks. The dust has settled and it is time to "go to work"!


Friday, September 25th


Earl Marriot (AAA) at Clarence Fulton

Marriot is stuggling mightily in 09 and their freshman year at AAA ball will likely be unkind. This said, their trip to Vernon to lock horns with the Maroons ought to play out well.
Gridiron's Pick: Marriot by 14.

Norkam at Salmon Arm (AAA)

Salmon Arm has a good squad this year and will be too much for Norkam to handle. Gridiron's Pick: The Golds roll by 28

Valleyview at Mt. Douglas

The Vikings are outmatched in just about every area I can think of in this game. Tenth grade running back sensation Terrel Davis of the Rams will have a field day against the Valleyview Defense and the Rams will be throwing the ball at will.

Gridiron's Pick: Mt. Douglas by 40

Saturday September 26th

Mt. Baker at Penticton (Tier 2)


Friday, September 25th

Handsworth at John Barsby

This is shaping up to be a very key game in the Coastal Conference with the winner having the inside track to a playoff berth and the loser facing an uphill battle getting into the post-seson dance. Barsby is at home and Handsworth has a ferry trip to deal with. Both sqads are coming off of impressive victories last weekend.

Gridiron's Pick: Barsby by 4

Windsor at Frank Hurt

Windsor has by the scheduling Gods come across an opening three weeks of cupcake games. Frank Hurt will be a further tune-up for the surging Dukes headed into a tough as nails October schedule.

Gridiron's Pick: Windsor by 44

Abbottsford Collegiate at Hugh Boyd

Hugh Boyd will again play the whole roster as they get important reps in headed into the October smash mouth contests ahead. Abbottsford looks to improve week to week and will certainly be given a litmus test of their progress to date vs the Trojans.

Gridiron's Pick: Boyd by 36

Pitt Meadows at Rick Hansen

If there is going to be an upset this week, it is going to be this game. Pitt roasted the West Van AAA squad last week and there has been some muttering on the net about Hansen underachieving thus far. I think Hansen gets better each week as a product of their coaching style. Pitt has some dandy athletes.

Gridiron's Pick: Hansen by three!

Sands at Mission

Sands likes to play smashmouth ball..Mission is all about finesse. Rock-em-Sock-em rules.

Gridiron's Pick: Sands by 18

Saturday, September 26th

Belmont at Timberline

Belmont played a six point game vs Barsby for the first half last week. Belmont has stud athletes and lots of em. Their game will only get better. Belmont will win by a good score.

Gridiron's Pick: Belmont by 14
Ballenas at South Delta

Langley at Seaquam

Seaquam's juggernaut on the ground will face a big, tough Langley roster. Time to see if Langley has turned the corner to being competitive in the upper echelons of the league. I won't believe it til I see it.

Gridiron's Pick: Seaquam by 24

Monday, August 10, 2009


Gridiron's Pick's Week 1 2009

We're Back Baby and it's about dad gum time for some BC AA HS Football!! This year's AA league is by far the most muscular and competitive group of squads in the history of BC High School Football and boy oh boy is it going to be fun to watch things unfold week by week!

The first three weeks will be a mixed bag of exhibition and league tilts due to the uneven number of teams in the conferences and the standings will reflect this.

A note to all AA enthusiasts out there in cyber-land; this blog will become a lot more interesting if you log on as a member and share your candid and appropriate thoughts each week. Everyone is welcome but again, be appropriate.

Gridiron's Week 1 Rankings

Top 10

1. Rick Hansen
2. S. Delta
3. Windsor
4. Mt. Douglas
5. Sands
6. Seaquam
7. John Barsby
8. Hugh Boyd
9. Mission
10. Handsworth

Honorable Mention: Ballenas, Clarence Fulton, Pitt Meadows

Gridiron's Picks

Zero Week Exhibition

Friday, September 4th

Mt. Douglas at Jefferson Oregon: The Mt. Douglas Rams are a monster squad this year chalk full of size, speed and experienced talent. These veteren players have won down south of the 49th before and are looking to bond as a program on this trip while solidifying their on-field game in preparation for week 1 league play. A great move by the coaching staff in scheduling this trip!

Gridiron's Pick: The Rams by 18 points.

Week 1 Exhibition

Friday, September 11th

Rick Hansen vs WJ Mouat (AAA) : A huge rivalry in the Valley and a win-win for both teams no-matter what the score. Hansen will only get better any way you slice this one and though they are surely big-time underdogs, the Hurricanes will be stepping on to the field with no shortage of motivation.

Gridiron's Pick: Mouat has too much talent for Hansen to handle. This game will be a blowout by half-time. Mouat will be getting a good look at it's second and third string during the second half. Look for Hansen to pull out all the stops in the first quarter which could make things interesting for a bit. Hawks by twenty plus by game's end.

Nanaimo (Tier 2) at Sands: This game will be a controlled scrimmage format. Nanaimo is in a big re-build year and Sands is returning to AA ball after a two year hiatus. Don't read too much into this game other than getting a good preview of athletes and base schemes. A lot of eyes are on Sands this year and hopefully the Scorpions give em some positives to report back to the league.

Gridiron's Pick: Sands in a cakewalk. Nanaimo comes away knowing they can go head-to-head with a powerhouse and survive. Tier 2 competition against the better squads in the league thereafter will not be a mental hurdle after this trip.

Burnaby Central (Tier 2) at Langley: The Saints are in year 3 of their evolving program and have got to be turning the corner this year. Burnaby Central is well...Burnaby Central. This will be a slaughter if the Saints want it to be.

Gridiron's Pick: Langley by 34 plus.

Lord Tweedsmuir (AAA) at Hugh Boyd in Gridiron's Game Of The Week!: Now this game rocks! LT had no problem wading through Hansen in Spring Ball and the Trojans are a special group this year. All things considered, the talent level on both squads measures up even and both programs have a history of fast starts out of the blocks in the Fall. The coaching staff's are superb and Boyd likes a fast track so the artificial turf will play in their favour. Tweedsmuir does a great job in the kicking game and they like to run the football. Boyd's monster Fullback is going to find out just how tough he is in this game. I like Tweedsmuir up front on the offensive and defensive lines and I like the Trojans on the edge offensively and in the defensive backfield. Folks, this is going to be fun!!!

Gridiron's Pick: Tweedsmuir by 10 on a wave of fumble driven momentum. Gotta take care of that ball Trojans.

Clarence Fulton at Kelowna: Gotta tell ya, if this game were played in mid-to late October it would be a lot closer than it is going to be. Kelowna has the roster and experience to dominate in week 1 and will do so. Fulton's Coach Scheller is one of BC High School Football's gems and he knows the Interior competition inside-out so the Maroons are going to be prepared for sure. Kelowna will roll however provided it doesn't start splitting offensive hairs and try to cover its offensive playbook from front-cover to back. The Owls like the pretty stuff on offense so Fulton had better find ways to pressure quarterbacks and cover deep balls to tree sized receivers.

Gridiron's Pick: KSS is too much-too early athlete for athlete in this game. The Owls win by 21.

Saturday, September 12th

Handsworth at Carson Graham (AAA) in the storied Buchannon Bowl

Coach Prepchuck has a battle hardened group of players this year and an exceptional crew of 11's. Carson a team that is quite possibly going to be 2009's AAA surprise. Both coaching staffs know each others bag of goodies very well and the opposing rosters know the symbolic importance of this North Shore rivalry game. Carson usually starts their seasons stronger than the Royals who under Coach Prepchuck will as sure as the rising sun each morning, get better week to week during the season. The mitigating facor for this game is how long Carson keeps its starters on the field and how well they can practice in the pre-season with their big roster numbers as this slows down the learning curve if not handled correctly by the coaching staff. Handsworth will be picking up things quickly as their roster is much smaller in terms of sheer numbers. Secondly, continuity; Handsworth is not changing its scheme a lick from JV to Varsity and most of their players have two or three years if not more in "the system". Carson gets edged here. If the Eagles decide they are going to go run heavy and play power ball this game is going to be much kinder to them. If not, they will be playing the game with better athletes but an exhibition disadvantage.

Gridiron's Pick: Carson by 6. Bigger-Faster-Stronger.

Mt. Boucherie (AAA) at Seaquam: Seaquam is a very, very good AA team with a mean and brash attitude. They are run-oriented at heart and can throw well when need be. Boucherie doesn't play its best ball on the road and will be struggling to reload at the tailback position this year. The Bears are running into a defensive buzz saw if they think they are going to head into this one and run the ball.

Gridiron's Pick: Seaquam by 22

Mission at Chief Leschie Washington: Two years ago I had the privilege of watching an incredible JV semi-final game between Mission and Boyd. Those youngsters are now seasoned varsity players and the speed, size and talent are all there! Mission should not be taken likely by anyone this year. I think they will be better than last year's version and will be featuring an improved ground game as a direct contributor to their on-field success. The whole program has to have a chip on its collective shoulder after 08. Chief Leschi is a very small school that plays some tough ball in it's division. This is a team-building trip for the Roadrunners.

Gridiron's Pick: Mission by 16 plus.

Mt. Baker vs Taber Alberta: Yep Folks, we have a team in Cranbrook this year! I love the possibilities here as their closest competition each week is going to be in Montana, Idaho and Washington! Alberta is not far down the road either and they play some good ball in that province as well. The Mt. Baker program is going to cut its teeth on great football each week and if their coaching staff is wise, they will gobble up every game they can find with their US competition. If they do this, they ought to have a cakewalk in the Interior conference and will be a yearly monster in the playoffs. Get after it Mt. Baker!!

Gridiron's Pick: It ain't gonna be pretty for Mt. Baker out of the gates. Taber by Fourty. Learn from this guys and close the gap.

League Play

Friday, September 11th

Belmont at Windsor: Belmont is much better than last is Windsor. Belmont is huge physically and it has some very good speed in key positions off of the Line of Scrimmage. The Dukes have a Samurai approach and appreciation of technique and they are strong at every position on the field. A very seasoned group of Duke players will step on to the field in week 1 as a squad that I believe will be semi-finalists in 09 as a minimum! Belmont is not doing the little things well and does not have an offensive identity yet which will result in them getting carved-up like Christmas Goose by the Dukes.

Gridiron's Pick: Windsor by 30.

Saturday, September 12th

Mt. Douglas at Rank Hurt: In Frank Hurt's favor the Rams have to travel to play this game. After this, things look bleak for the Hornets. Frank Hurt continues it's rebuild and Mt. Douglas will be coming off of a tilt in Oregon with a talented, veteran squad. This game will post big offensive and defensive numbers for the Rams. Frank Hurt has to set some realistic goals and aim to walk off the field with some positives to build on.

Gridiron's Pick: Mt. Douglas by 40

John Barsby at South Delta: The defending BC Champions look to pick-up where they left off in 08 and that is in the win column. The visiting Bulldogs of John Barsby aim to improve on a BC Quarter-Final season last time round. These are both winning programs that reload each year as opposed to rebuilding. The Sun Devils big, fast and loaded with returning and upcoming talent. Barsby is bigger up front than in years past and has an impact group of 11's stepping up to varsity play. South Delta easily handled a tough Seaquam squad in Spring ball while Barsby had a mixed-bag of results in their spring jamboree. The factor that adds a lot of intrigue to this game is that neither squad or coaching staff knows a lot about the other and game day adjustments are going to be at a premium once the ball is kicked-off. Depth is an issue for Barsby and it is not as big of a concern for South Delta. Size goes to the Sun Devils as does speed.

Gridiron's Pick: The Sun Devils are 21 point favorites.

Timberline at Ballenas: These two Island squads have similar raw talent on their rosters. The difference maker in this game will be coaching depth. Ballenas has at least six coaches who are coordinator type quality and are manning position groups. Timberline has two fine coaches who multi-task very well. Ballenas gets polished faster at the individual position level than probably every group in BC. I went and poured over a good 8 season's of Ballenas varsity ball and took a look at the Whaler losses. In almost every case they were not out finnessed in losing but were basically run over by more physically dominant groups of opposing players. Timberline's version of spread offense does not run people over as a rule and like I said, the raw physical talent is similar. Out finnessing Ballenas is doubtful.

Gridiron's Pick: Ballenas by 21

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2009 Pre-Season Projections

AA Varsity 2009

Ranking The Conferences

This one is a bear! The Valley and Coastal conferences are in a dead heat in terms of competitive balance.

Lets look at school size as it is one important indicator of program strength. It all begins with the pool of athletes to recruit from within one's hallways:

Coastal Conference Valley Conference

John Barsby (158) Mission (225)
Ballenas (261) Seaquam (275)
Timberline (270) Langley (308)
Mt. Douglas (289) Rick Hansen (252)
Belmont (516) Abby Collegiate (354)
Windsor (186) Hugh Boyd (211)
Handsworth (277) Pitt Meadows (195)
Frank Hurt (262) Sands (174)
South Delta (290)

Avg. 279 Avg. 250

Strength of Program: Jv's are an important indicator of program strength as are community ball feeder systems. Also, taking into account last year's varsity performance and historic varsity standings it emerges that there is again much parity between the conferences from the top of each heap to the bottom.

Weaker Programs: What may separate the two conferences is the number of weaker or unproven squads this year. Until proven otherwise on the field of play, it breaks down like this:

Coastal: Frank Hurt, Belmont. Valley: Abbottsford, Langley

Again a tight heat and it can be argued that all four of these programs are on the ascendency. What then? Probably coaching, off-season conditioning and ultimately, the number of impact athletes on each team. Failing this, spring scores may give insight.

By the narrowest of margins I am going to rank the conferences as follows:

Coastal: 9 teams seven of which could make a deep playoff run.

Valley: 8 teams, six of which could make a deep playoff run.

Interior: Only Fulton seems dangerous or has consistently proven itself since turn of the century. As JV ball gets established for these guys, the bar will go up. Not there yet.

North: A good team of athletes will emerge from this conference in 09. It may take this group awhile to acclimate to high calibre ball. Time will tell. Not running spring ball in May/June will prove to be problematic. Summer "spring" ball won't be the same with athletes all over the map due to family and work commitments.

Top 10

1. Rick Hansen
2. S. Delta
3. Windsor
4. Mt. Douglas
5. Sands
6. Seaquam
7. John Barsby
8. Hugh Boyd
9. Mission
10. Handsworth

Honorable Mention: Ballenas, Clarence Fulton, Pitt Meadows

Coastal Conference

1. South Delta: The SunDevils lost some key players from last year's championship squad to graduation but they have also retained many important contributors from that group while adding a very good group of players from their feeder system. Coach Moon has been quoted as saying that he thinks they can be better in 09 than they were in 08. There is no reason to doubt him and judging by the way his squad handled a very good Seaquam unit in Spring Ball this is going to be the team to beat in the Coastal Conference if not all of BC. Offensively the Sundevils will be using multiple formations and they are known to quickly exploit what defenses are giving them. Defensively they like to get a lot of hats to the football while not selling out too hard with the blitz. Special teams are very good due to the game breaking athletes that abound on the SD roster. This group is well coached at every position and the complete package in terms of size, speed and experience. The season opener versus a scrappy John Barsby squad will be followed by a week 2 road-trip collission with Mt. Douglas that will have a major impact on the November playoff line-up.

2. Windsor: Watching a Windsor offense carving up opponents is like watching lazer surgery. The offensive line has few rivals in terms of technical proficiency and woe unto opposing defensive coordinators who don't do an honest self-scout heading into a Windsor game. Bend but don't break defense characterizes the Duke approach to keeping opponents out of the endzone. In terms of coaching, Coach Schuman is a preparation animal who if given an eighth day, would likely have the DNA profiles of opposing players on hand for Monday practice. The Dukes are a complete squad who's only knock would be a lack of size. Look for the Dukes to get off to a very fast start in September before wading into what can arguably be characterized as the toughest October schedule in BC. There will be no weeks off in the lead-up to the playoffs and the Dukes will be in playoff mode weeks ahead of their post-season competition as a result.

3. Mt. Douglas: A very big AA school back from four years of AAA ball where they competed quite well, the Rams are licking their chops (no pun intended) as they prepare to tear into AA competition and make a run for the Subway Bowl. The Rams are the biggest team physically in the conference and have a wealth of experience, speed and big play makers. This group has been together since the seventh and eighth grade and they will be entering week 1 play with a US game under their belts. This is the team to beat coming off of Vancouver Island and they are built to challenge the "heavyweights" in the provincial top five. The Rams could very well go undefeated in conference play. A week 2 showdown at home with the BC Champion South Delta Sundevils could be the game that determines who emerges from conference play in November as the number 1 seed.

4. John Barsby: A consistent playoff team since 1999, the "Dawgs" of John Barsby have undergone a bit of an internal rebuild the past couple of years that began to manifest itself in the win column in 08. A seasoned group of veteren players will form this year's squad with playoff experience at the JV and Varsity levels of play. Spring-Ball gave a hint of what is to come with big offensive numbers, but it also exposed a lot of room for defensive improvement. The Dawgs need to stay healthy as depth is an issue in a small school program. The season opener versus the BC Champion South Delta SunDevils will give an indication of where the Dawgs are in the provincial pecking order and a week 3 home contest versus the Handsworth Royals, a squad Barsby has never defeated will be absolutely huge in determining the November playoff picture. Look to the week 6 Border Battle versus Ballenas for some fireworks with the losing squad facing a potential missed or very short post-season.

5. Handsworth: The Handsworth offensive and defensive schemes are tried and true and the coaching first-rate. With the Royals it comes down to the group of players who have to make these X's and O's do their thing. This year Handsworth is on an "up" year and will be very, very competitive headed into the playoffs. Strengths will be on the offensive line and at the quarterback/receiver positions. A solid crew of JV's move up who are well versed in the Handsworth system. Traditionally slow starters, it will be interesting to see how they handle playing league games in week 2. Notwithstanding this, the Royals will be a vastly improved team when it counts come November. Week three and four visits to John Barsby and Mt. Douglas respectively will have a significant impact on playoff seeding for the Royals.

6. Ballenas: On a good day, the Whalers can play with and possibly beat any team in the Coastal Division. They are going to need at least six or seven good days this Fall to obtain a decent playoff seed when it all shakes down in November. The Whalers are a quality group through and through with excellent technical coaching to back up tried and true offensive and defensive schemes. Strengths will be at linebacker and on the offensive line with a quality backfield to accompany. Look for an early exhibition tilt versus Hugh Boyd to give a good indication of how the Whalers stack up against AA's upper echelon. Games versus Timberline, Handsworth and Barsby are going to have a big impact on whether or not the Whalers make or go far in the playoffs.

7. Timberline: At the start of the season the Wolves will be a group of tough kids. By mid-season they will be a group of tough football players. Timberline will have to get a couple of early victories to stay in the playoff hunt late in the season. That is just the math of the thing. Offensivley, the Wolves have big play potential in the air and their O. Coordinator does a very good job of mixing the run-pass game. On defense, this will be a hard nosed, run stopping crew that likes to dust it up. The Wolves will have some decent size to throw into the mix as well and this bodes well for them looking at some of the key games on their schedule. A finish higher than number seven is perfectly possible but.....winning a few games early will be a big part of that kind of a season. The season opener versus Ballenas will be HUGE!

8. Belmont:The blue Bulldogs of Belmont are on the edge of reaching the critical mass of a program that is going to make the jump to being very competitive. Going into year three of varsity play, they are big, fast, and increasingly veteran in terms of their skill set. Mentally, they are starting to get some killer instinct as well. Being on the edge of being competitive is not good enough this year though; they have to BE competitive. Technique, conditioning and unit cohesiveness need to improve for this to happen. I have watched this program with great interest and feel that they are getting better each and every year. This improvement has to be a weekly thing and the "winnable" games against the bottom half of the division have to be won. It is then going to be a matter of confidence headed into the other tilts that will define this year's squad and lay track for the program in the years ahead. Make no mistake, this is a big year for Belmont. If they can get their ducks in a row on the practice field with everyone pulling in the same direction, I believe they will be a big surprise this fall. When this program comes of age, it could be a dynasty....yep....I am saying dynasty at AAA in the years to come. Back to 2009; look for a shocker of a score somewhere on the Belmont schedule and after that, look for a couple more. All you Belmont players, coaches and fans, take offense to a number eight ranking and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

9. Frank Hurt: Headed into the season known as the Hornets this crew had better be showing improvement over their 08 effort. The Hornets are in year two of a regime change at the coaching level and what looks to be a rebuild to go with it. Last season there were positive signs that the rebuild was taking hold. Hopefully, the Hornets will pick-up where they left off and get better week by week. The Coastal Division is going to be very tough in 09 and a big step-up from the opponents they faced in spring ball. What will it be in 09. a swarm of angry hornets reminiscent of the 04-07 era or a gob of dump bees? I am thinking somewhere in between.

Valley Conference

1. Rick Hansen: OK, if the forum scuttlebut is to be believed, Lord Tweedsmuir waded through these guys in spring ball like crud through a tin horn. I don't buy it. Coach Gill and co. were not looking to add a spring exhibition game to their coaching resume as its defining triumph. The Hurricanes got real good as the season progressed last year and wound-up almost knocking off the eventual provincial champions in the semis. The guts of last year's squad is back and they are loaded for bear at every offensive position on the field. The top returning Quarterback in AA ball returns to guide a very, balanced offensive scheme that is complimented by a defense that should be way tougher, way earlier, in the season than in 08. Week 1 against cross-town rival AAA Mouat will be an early litmus test for the Hurricanes and make no mistake, they are coached-up with a proven history of week by week improvement. The Hurricanes are the team to beat in 09 and they ought to get busy sewing bulls eyes on their shirts.

2. Sands: "The return of Darth Vader", "The Boogy Men are Back", "The Rise of Mordor"......and so it goes. They're baaaaack.....Good I say!! Hey, this is going to be a tough, tough team that is going to try to name C Gap "Scorpion Alley" and smash opposing offenses who try to advance the football. Everyone on the Sands schedule is going to have to pick-up their game and on the flip-side, the Scorpions are going to find out that AA ball has gotten tougher the past couple of years. This crew is going to make the year all the better for everyone and for themselves by being back. There will be no shortage of rivalry games week in and week out. Look for the Scorpions to be in the mix, as high as number one and a couple of game day mistakes from number 5. Number two seems about right for now.

3. Seaquam: These guys are a throwback to something rolling out of Pittsburg in the mid to late 70's. They run, trap and tackle hard and like nothing more than a good street-fight in pads. This year's offense will define itself with the run and PAP. Defensively the Seahawks play with a chip on their shoulder and have quietly assembled some serious perimeter speed offensively and defensively. This is a fully re-built winning program who will be playing its best ball late in the year. They will need to be doing just that in 09. A first place finish is not out of the question provided the Hawks stay healthy.

4. Hugh Boyd: The Trojans will be lining up with two backs this year and have a superb group of receivers to compliment their backfield. Importantly the offensive line is an improvement over last year's talented group as well! Defensively the men of Troy feature a very quick crew of ball hawks and run stoppers who play very well as a cohesive unit. Specials will be good and it all adds up to a very solid squad taking the field each week. Key for the Trojans will be the team mo-jo. I hear tell that they are a group with a super attitude who just don't have "quit" in their mentality. This is good because they are going to play in a lot of close games versus the upper echelon of their division. Look for a finish that could be a lot higher than the fourth seed headed into the playoffs.

5. Mission: The Roadrunners have for better or worse thrown the ball and left the run as more than a bit of an afterthought since joining varsity play in 2004. Along the way they have fairly or unfairly earned a reputation for coming up short against power running teams in the big games. I think that there is a mixed-bag of reality in this perception. I also think that Coach Watrin is no slouch and that when he has guys who can run, he uses them well. This year's squad is going to be more balanced and it has the guys up front who can lay down track for the ball carrier. Defensively they are quick and nasty with many veteran players. The Roadrunners are Gridiron's pick to be 09's surprise in their conference. Though ranked fifth in pre-season, the Mission squad has the potential to play right up to number one or two. Anyone who watched their JV's two years ago can vouch for how talented this team is. Keep an eye on the Roadrunners!

6. Pitt Meadows: A solid group of JV's move-up from last years championship appearance and by all counts, PMS is headed upwards as a program. Varsity ball is going to be a sobering experience to those who think this season will be a continuation of last year's JV success. One thing of note however is the pass oriented offensive scheme these guys employ. If they can throw effectively this group won't have to get in shoving matches with more mature and physical squads which could allow them to hang a few unexpected W's in the standings. Defensively, the power running teams like Sands and Boyd are going to be a fearsome challenge. A middle of the pack finish is likely.

7. Langley: The Saints are in year 3 of their program's football oddessy. This group matches up well physically with anyone and it is just a matter of time til they can play the finesse elements of the game at a level that makes em a true threat on both sides of the ball. Last year I thought they would be a break through squad and it just didn't happen for them. This year I think they could challenge up a few spots from their current conference ranking. It ought to be fun to follow this group in the coming months.

8. Abbottsford Collegiate: Word has it there is a good quarterback in Abbottsford who doesn't play at Hansen or Mouat. With some help, this fellow could lead a fairly productive offense in 09. This season however is going to be a particularly tough one to have as your first in AA ball. Big, school, big numbers...who knows? This group could overachieve but at this sitting, it is doubtful.

Interior Conference

1. Clarence Fulton: Early season favorites to place first in the Interior. Coach Scheller knows how to get it done and he has a great group of athletes in pads this year.

2. Okanagen Mission: The Huskies are a mature program who have found their full measure the past three years. This group will challenge the Maroons for top rail.

3. Valleyview: The Vikings are a cruiser weight in this division who can rise above the middle of the pack on a good year. Keep an eye on these guys.

4. Mt. Baker: A good quality exhibition schedule and the surprise factor that comes with distance and a long trip for scouting bodes well for this new squad come league play. Will be fun to watch how they do in 09.

5. Norkam: This could be a breakout year for the Saints. Early season play will give everyone a good luck at their prospects in October.

North Conference

1. Kelley Road: A couple dozen returning players and a good looking option oriented running game. The Roadrunners are built for the late Fall weather and will seed into AAA playoffs at year's end. This is the consensus team to beat in the North Conference.

2. College Heights: Eighteen returning players bolstered by a grade 11 youth movement. A balanced offensive attack with great roster depth will help the Cougars play deep into the season. If they can find a way to slow down Kelley Road's ground game and force a few turnovers the boys on the hill could be sitting atop the pack come November.

3. Prince George: Big school that will pound away with 250 lb wrecking ball running back and this could be a factor in the autumn frost. The Polars could jump up in the mix with effective PAP and a solid defensive group.

4. Nechacko Valley: (Vanderhoof): Last year's Tier 2 Champions loses a quality group to graduation but returns with size and a winning mentality. The Vikings have what it takes to upset a couple of the top three squads and make big moves to a good playoff seed.

5. Dutchess Park: A new coaching staff for the Kondors as they hit the field in 09. Some good talent present on the roster and this could be the sleeper team up north this year!

6. Correlieu (Quesnel): Hanging their hat on a big offensive line and beast running back Kilby Barker. Add some defense and you have a group that could surprise.

7. D.P. Todd: A roster low in numbers spells depth problems for the Trojans down the stretch. Innovative coaching and great conditioning could save the day for this group.