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
1. Rick Hansen
2. S. Delta
4. Mt. Douglas
7. John Barsby
8. Hugh Boyd
Honorable Mention: Ballenas, Clarence Fulton, Pitt Meadows
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.
Friday, September 11th
Belmont at Windsor: Belmont is much better than last year....so 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