Well folks, here we are at the BCSSFA AA Semi-Finals and the Tier 2 Ackles Cup. There are surely a couple story lines headed into these tilts and it is going to be a swell Saturday of ball this upcoming Saturday at UBC.
Tier 2 Ackles Cup
Belmont Bulldogs vs Frank Hurt Hornets: This game will be played between the two teams who really surged in the second half of the season. Number 1 vs Number 2 and earned all the way. Both teams blanked their respective opponents in the semis and something is going to have to give. Size up-front and across the board for that matter goes to Belmont as does the speed factor. Offensively, Frank Hurt has a more dynamic offense and will therefore be able to aim itself at the perceived defensive weaknesses of their opponent. Belmont however does what it does on offense and nobody to date has been able to slow them down, let alone stop them cold on the field. Defensively, Belmont is the team that has really improved the most over the season and there is a definit air of confidence amongst this unit. Gotta give the edge to the Bulldogs in this category. This leaves us with the third element to weigh in on Saturday, special teams. This is a draw to date and the team that gains an edge in field position/creates some big plays will likely find itself in a position of advantage offensively. With both defenses playing so well, having an offense playing with a short field will make all the difference. Lastly, travel legs. Belmont will have them and Frank Hurt will not. Advantage Hurt.
GI's Pick: Belmont by 12. The Bulldogs are on a roll and bring too much to the dance for the Hornets to handle. Congrats both squads on your breakthrough seasons!
AA Varsity Semi-Finals
Windsor vs Handsworth: Windsor won the first tilt between these two North Shore Rivals, but there has been a ton of football played since mid-October. The Dukes may have had a phyrric victory on Friday vs the physical Sands Scorpions losing their starting running back and superb receiver respectively for the duration. This changes the Duke recipe for success in a dramatic way, but there is still a winning recipe out there if the coaching staff can find it and the players can embrace it. As predicted last week, Handsworth defeated South Delta in a close one, managing to handle tactical setbacks and staying focused long enough to hit enough offensive paydirt to win. So folks, what gives?
Windsor is hurting, but its greatest strength remains intact. The Duke offensive line is a machine and their Quarterback a leader. The Windsor QB just needs to be patient and deliver the mail to capeable back-ups and the Dukes will get on the scoreboard. The Duke Defense knows the Handsworth offense in detail so you know the score is going to be very, very close. At the coaching level, both squads are equally well led by two men who are quite frankly reaching (if not having reached) legend status in BC. The difference Saturday, Windsor is tougher.
GI's Pick: Windsor by 2
John Barsby vs Mission: Mission is coming off of one of the all time playoff classics vs a refuse to lose Seaquam Seahawk squad on Saturday. Barsby is headed into the week firing on all cylinders in physical fashion. This game will definitely be a game where eliminating the big play will manifest itself as all important for both defenses. On special teams, both squads can unleash the big play and offensively, we have two opposites in terms of styles of attack. Look for this game to swing back and forth momentum wise and for both teams. Neither team has played the other since 2008, so the preparation battle in each coaching hut is going to play a role. In terms of picking a winner, you have to look at a quality, common opponent. This is Seaquam. Barsby struggled mightily to win that game by 2 points and Mission did the same winning by 3
Seaquam 62 Prince George 0
Handsworth 44 Nechako Valley 0
Sands 34 Clarence Fulton 16
Pitt Meadows 41 OKM 13
Belmont 31 Vanier 7
Nanaimo District 25 Timberline 0
Frank Hurt 39 Vernon 0
Howe Sound 58 Westsyde 8
Well gang, in most regards, Round 1 was pretty much an all out smoke show and Round 2 is certainly going to be a slate of better games. Not only did round 1 determine who advances to the quarter-finals, it also most surely illustrated some geographic disparity!
In two games North Division one and two was outscored 106-0. This is actually very low as Handsworth shut things down in the second half vs Vanderhoof. This dusting was courtesay of the #3 seeds from the Coast and Lower Mainland Divisions.
In two games the Interior one and two was outscored 75-29. This was dished out by the Lower Mainland and Coast #4 seeds.
Tier 2 Carnage: Interior 1 and 2 were outscored 97-8 by Lower Mainland 1 and 2.
You can bet your best set of cleates and favorite coaching hat that there is going to be some discussion at this year's AGM about realignment! Before jumping on that bandwagon, one of today's NCAA scores in the Big 10 had Wisconsin beating Indiana 86-14 or something like that. Is Indiana going to drop out of the league to Div. 2, plead for NCAA realignment or are they going to try to build a better program? Just being a devil's advocate for now, but this conversation is way to premature. Just remember all you out there who do not like the status quo, build a consensus and advance it to the membership in January.
Pitt Meadows at John Barsby: Pitt has been playing red-hot football since the beginning of October and they roll onto the new artificial turf field on Friday looking for an upset. The Marauders are quite simply explosive on offense and very opportunistic on defense and special teams. Barsby is coming off of a bye week which quite frankly is a double edged sword. Healthy perhaps but a two week rest could mean rust for the undefeated Nanaimo crew. Look for the team who can minimize their opponent's big plays the most effectively to emerge as the winner in this game.
GI's Pick: Barsby by 7
Seaquam at Mission: I really like the match-up in this game. Seaquam is very, very tough vs the run and plays pretty tight pass defense to boot. Mission is a scoring machine and has had two weeks to put their game together for the SeaHawks. The key in this game is the ability of Mission to stop the run and for Seaquam to force some Roadrunner turnovers to stall drives and get a short field. This game would be closer if the SeaHawks hat their starting tailback. Their #2 is darn good too, just is not getting the rest he will need as he has to pick-up slack on both sides of the ball.
GI's Pick: Mission by 12
Handsworth at South Delta: This will be a very close game. Coach Prepchuck has owned the SunDevils in years past and I see no reason for this trend to not continue. South Delta plays very tough defense and can throw as good as anyone in the league. Handsworth will pressure the Sundevil pivot all day long however and the Royal defense will tighten its grip as the game unfolds. It will take a while, but Handsworth will break the game open offensively in the mid-to late second quarter en-route to eventual victory.
GI's Pick: Handsworth by 6
Sands at Windsor: Dukes beware, you are going to be standing in front of a freight train offense that is beginning to gain confidence in itself. The Scorpions however are going to have to defend a very explosive and multi-headed Duke offensive assault. Sands will surge early, but will find themselves flustered by big play after big play via the air from their Windsor tormentors. An outside chance of success exists for the Scorpions, but this only occurs if they can defend the deep ball and get some fortunate turnover bounces throughout the game.
GI's Pick: Windsor by 24
Tier 2 Semi-Finals
Nanaimo District at Belmont: Nanaimo will make this game closer than their tilt vs Belmont a short week ago but they aren't going to get bigger and faster over this period of time. Bigger and faster usually beats smaller and slower. Then again, we are talking high school kids here and the sky is the limit on any given day with this crew. If Belmont can pound the rock, they will be awful tough to beat. If Nanaimo can step it up on special teams, keep their foes on their heels and be unpredictable, they may find themselves victorious. A lot of "Ifs" here. What we do know is that Belmont has all the tools to win vs Nanaimo and has done so very recently. Gotta go with the knowns here!
GI's Pick: Belmont by 14
Howe Sound at Frank Hurt: Well, these two teams have battled twice already this year and there are very few secrets between them. I am going to give this game to Frank Hurt. The Hornets are a more complete team offensively and Howe Sound is riding their big running back to glory. Those rides can be short versus well played team defense and when there is little else to fall back on, long afternoons await.
An apology...Gridiron ran low on gas and had to take care of his program first and foremost this past week. Ought to have some time for a better posting this coming weekend.
Gridiron's AA Top Five
3. John Barsby
5. South Delta
Gridiron's Tier 2 Top Five
2. Frank Hurt
4. Howe Sound
5. Nanaimo District
Week Nine in Review
Double A saw Ballenas and Rick Hansen go down fighting to end their respective seasons while Windsor rallied to top Mission in a thriller. John Barsby surged versus a now healthy Sands squad while up North, Fulton and Prince George secured number 1 status in the Interior and North divisions respectively. The table is now set for the playoffs and the most exciting part of the 2010 season now begins.
Tier 2 finalized its standings on the last week which is a solid testament to the league parity. Tough finish for a good Moscrop squad! Bateman will be back stronger next year as should be the Panthers.
Pitt Meadows at Okanagen Mission: Gotta give the edge in this one to Pitt Meadows. More bodies and more speed combined with a far tougher regular season schedule gives the Marauders the edge in this game. OKM can throw well but so can Pitt and defensively, Pitt has matched-up very well with divisional powerhouses Handsworth, Windsor and Mission keeping the score close in all three contests. Look for this game to get out of hand by the second quarter.
GI's Pick: Pitt Meadows by 28
Prince George at Seaquam: Great season up North for the Polars. Now you guys have to play a battle tested crew in Seaquam that will dominate up-front on both sides of the ball. The SeaHawks played a solid Ballenas crew on Saturday minus their starting RB for three quarters and did not miss a beat. Seaquam will get it done on the ground and snuff the PG offense start to finish with AA's stingiest scoring defense.
GI's Pick: Seaquam by 36
Nechako Valley at Handsworth: Handsworth will toss and counter its way to scores on almost every possession in this game. The thing about the Royals however, is defense. Handsworth always plays outstanding defense come playoff time and this will likely be a shutout.
GI's Pick: Handsworth by 38
Sands at Clarence Fulton: OK, this is the one game where an Interior/Northern team has a shot. IF, and a big IF, the Maroons can stop serious power football and the Fade, they will be in this game. Sands is pretty tough physically but has not proven that they can close big games in terms of endurance. Interesting contest here.
GI's Pick: Sands by 8
Tier 2 Playoffs
Nanaimo District at Timberline: Timberline has won most of its games this year where the athletic match-ups are similar. I think that they have Nanaimo's number in 2010 and the Islanders are in tough as they travel up to Campbell River. If Nanaimo can throw the ball well enough to keep the Wolves from crowding the box we may have a game on our hands. A tall order thus far.
GI's Pick: Timberline by 12
G.P. Vanier at Belmont: I have to admit I do not know the score (game already played)at this late posting. However, my pick is below.
GI's Pick: Belmont by 23
Howe Sound at Westsyde: Howe Sound has been winning games in what has turned out to be Tier 2's pressure cooker of a division. Westsyde is a bit of an unknown to them but the Sounders have had a full season with lots of travel experience. If the Whundas cannot stop Howe Sound's big back it will be a long day for them.
GI's Pick: Howe Sound by 18
Vernon at Frank Hurt: Vernon has been playing good ball of late. So has Frank Hurt. I think the Hornets may be the most competitive team in Tier 2 the last couple weeks. Bye, Bye Vernon.
Double A ball saw big statement games from underdogs and superb competitive efforts as teams clawed and bit for playoff eligibility and seeding. The Mainland Conference saw Rick Hansen keeping hope alive with a one point victory over a scrappy Abbey crew and Pitt took Mission to the mat in a contest the Roadrunners won by a narrow five point margin. Handsworth responded to last weekend's loss with a powerful outing against Langley to regain momentum headed into the playoffs.
The Coast conference saw South Delta continue their upwards surge in a blowout vs Hugh Boyd, Sands travelling to Victoria for a rough go a Mt. Douglas and Seaquam serving notice that they are going to be the playoff tournament's Darkhorse in very physical fashion en-route to very nearly upsetting John Barsby on Saturday.
The Interior conference was laid wide open with a NorKam upset of Valleyview and up in El Norte semifinals were played Friday with Prince George defeating Duchess Park 36-26, andNechako Valley beating College Heights 20-14. Prince George will now meet Nechako Valley in the title game Friday at 6 p.m. This will be a super game!
Tier 2 this past weekend was outstanding! Yep, there is surely parity in this division of play as evidenced by Timberline's epic, double overtime victory at Edward Milne, Nanaimo District's come from behind 1 TD Win and Moscrop and Howe Sound defeating Frank Hurt and Robert Bateman by one point respectively! Wow!! Going into week nine, there is still no solid playoff seeding in either division!
Tier 2 Playoff Scenarios based on Week 9 matchups:
On the Island, Nanaimo District is the gate keeper if it comes down to a tie break:
If the Islanders lose to Belmont this coming Friday
If they beat Belmont by 11 points or less:
If they beat Belmont by 12 or more
Now switching gears to the Mainland Conference based on week 8's carnage:
Bateman is out.
Moscrop wins and Howe Sound wins then Moscrop goes in #2 seed and Howe Sound #1
Moscrop wins and Frank Hurt wins then Moscrop goes to #1 and Hurt #2
Moscrop loses and Howe Sound wins then Howe Sound goes in #1 and Moscrop #2
Moscrop loses and Howe Sound loses then Frank Hurt goes in #1 and Howe Sound #2
In both scenario's this is completely unoficial and based on info that has come across GI's desk from reliable sources.
Good Luck in Week 9 Everybody!
GI's Week 9 Picks
Friday, 5 November, 2010
Sands at John Barsby: Sands is playing for their season this Friday in "The Cage" at John Barsby. A Sands win lands them the 4th place Coast Division seed and a chance at beginning a new season in the playoff tournament. When healthy, this is a very dangerous squad and all should remember that these are the same players and coaches that very nearly defeated AAA champion Centennial a short month and a half ago. This is a dangerous game for Barsby as they are coming off of a very physical contest with Seaquam and have NOT been playing good offense the last two weeks. Look for a very physical game between these two squads.
GI's Pick: Barsby by 8
Prince George at Nechako Valley: These two teams played just a couple short weeks ago and it was the Vikings who wound up as top rail. It is often tough to get kids to defeat the same opponent twice as there are always assumptions made about the previous contest. Looking at the scores across the year, it seems that the Vikings have been playing better defense week in and week out. I have to go with this as the difference maker up in El Norte's big showdown.
GI's Pick: Nechako Valley by 3
South Delta at Langley: One more week of football for Langley. The Saints need to ralley around their grade 12's and play their hearts out for one another one last time. This game can wind-up being a very big positive for everyone in the program! Play out of your skin guys! South Delta is red-hot and rapidly morphing into a playoff beast. The post-season is all about momentum and the SunDevils will not be pulling any punches. A game on turf headed into the post-season is just what the doctor ordered as well. GI's Pick: SunDevils by 34
Rick Hansen at Pitt Meadows: Hurricane season this year saw the Hansen crew briefly morph into a weak category 2 storm. The conditions for a nasty 4 or 5 just have not materialized. Lots of want-to on the roster but probably not the crew to get things done vs the more powerful opponents this year. Pitt is playing very tough football and has improved weekly. The Marauders are living up to their nick-name and will tear into Hansen with a fury. The blitz will be too much for Hansen to handle offensively and the Marauder team speed will carry the day. GI's Pick: Pitt by 19
Clarence Fulton at Valleyview: This will be a good game. Lots of tough running and I believe some big plays on the edge. The Maroons have played more consistent football this year and will seed well into the playoffs. GI's Pick: Fulton by 12
Robert Bateman at Moscrop: Bateman has had an exceptional freshman year at varsity and will finish out with an emotional bang! Big things ahead for ol Bateman! I expect to see physical defense and hard running from both teams in this contest with the edge being Moscrop's passing game. Playing at home is also a bonus for the Panthers. GI's Pick: Moscrop by 2
Belmont at Nanaimo District: This game goes to the wire if Nanaimo District rolls out with some defense. I think however that Belmont has the advantage in terms of speed and size over the resilient Islanders who are on a four game win streak of their own. Belmont has really been ratcheting up their defense since mid-season and a couple big offensive plays could be the positive difference for the Blue Bulldogs. Special teams??? Yep, gonna be huge if there is an upset in the making.
GI's Pick: Belmont by 16
Saturday, 6 November, 2010
Okanagen Mission at Vernon: OKM is bigger, faster and has played a consistently tougher schedule than their opponents across the season. They are just playing at a higher level and it will show in every phase of the game. GI's Pick: Huskies by 22
Handsworth at Abbottsford Collegiate: Much like Langley, this is a big game for the Abbey 12's and for program pride and momentum headed into the post aka "Opportunity Season". Abbey has much to be proud of this year and is very much headed in the right direction going into 2012. I like their physical brand of play and they ought to play tough against the Royals. Handsworth is sharpening its claws and will be looking to polish its game while getting some solid game experience for its 2's and 3's during the contest. Coach Prepchuck will not sacrifice momentum headed into the post-season tourney however so Handsworth will surely post some points and be stingey on defense. GI's Pick: Handsworth by 24
Windsor at Mission: Easily the Game of the Week, if not year. The key to this game is simple, ELIMINATE SMALL PLAYS BECOMING BIG ONES. Both teams are very capeable of playing methodical, high percentage football offensively. Both teams play smothering defense and both teams are solid in terms of specials. So what gives? There is one other thing both teams possess and that is game breaking athletes. A bad angle defensively on a short pass, a mis-tackle in space, someone lost in traffic on a crossing route, bad hips defending a post-corner could be the game breaking mistake. The starting field possession in this game for each offense will be HUGE in determining the outcome. Mission owns the size differential up front and has an edge in speed. Windsor is more precise and less prone to mistakes. I think that if Mission's kicking game can get the Dukes in the position of having to score from a long field, the Roadrunners could carry the day. If the Dukes can flip that situation and win the turnover battle, look out Mission.
GI's Pick: Mild upset here, Mission by 3.
Seaquam at Ballenas: The tone of this game will be set on another field on another day. If Barsby beats Sands, this game is very meaningful to both Seaquam and Ballenas with the #3 and #4 playoff seed up for grabs. A Barsby loss and this is a pride game for the Whalers and a momentum game for Seaquam. That is the math. Sooo, Whalers, dig up something Red and Black, grit your teeth and head down to "The Cage" and do the unthinkable on Friday afternoon...cheer on Barsby. Now, with this bit of unpleasantness out of the way, the game itself. Physicality goes to Seaquam as does the inside running game. The Whalers can get it done on the edge and are superb via the Air. Trick-plays are all Whaler. The kicking game is very even. Defensively, Seaquam has the best scoring defense in the league. This statistic is very well Earned (with a capital E) and Seaquam is playing its best ball of the year. Can the Whalers win? Yes they can. Will they win, I wouldn't bet on it.
GI's Pick: Seaquam by 23
Mt. Baker at Westsyde: Long trip for Mt. Baker but nothing new for these guys. Westsyde has the edge offensively, defensively, special teams and of course, experience and home-field mojo. Bad math for Mt. Baker.
GI's Pick: Westsyde by 26
Howe Sound at Frank Hurt: Frank Hurt, you have silenced the doubters and haters out there. You have done this by deed and action, well done! You are the team to beat in your division, well done. Do not rest on your laurels. Howe Sound, you are always in a tough fight. This brings out the fighter in you and you know of no other way to strap on pads and go play ball. A very good match-up that will come down to kicking game and who has a bit of finesse in their offense. GI's Pick: Frank Hurt by 8
G.P. Vanier at Timberline: An old rivalry rekindled to a degree. This game will have a lot to do with how healthy Timberline is and how well Vanier has used the past two weeks to prepare for their opponents. The Towhees certainly have some great athletes on their roster and could rattle Timberline's cage if they get off to a good start. Timberline is not going to slug this one out offensively and I have doubts about Vanier's ability to defend finesse football. I also forsee a lot of penalty yardage in this contest.
GI's Pick: Timberline by 11
Edward Milne at Mark Isfeld: Milne played a game for the ages this past weekend. Isfeld was solid versus Nanaimo District. This is a great seson ender for both squads. Isfeld at home is hard to beat however. GI's Pick: Isfeld by 6
3. Frank Hurt
5. Nanaimo District
Week Seven in Review
This past weekend in AA varsity play gave much clarity to several divisional playoff races. The game of the week had to be Mission's 14-3 victory over the visiting Handsworth Royals. Other games found squads like Pitt, Windsor, South Delta and John Barsby really hitting their on-field stride. Up in the Interior Fulton continues to roll! the top rail in El Norte was decided in a defensive thriller with Nechako Valley narrowly edging Prince George on Friday. The Condors of Dutchess park and College Heights had big wins as well!
At Tier 2 on the Island, number one ranked Belmont was in tough for awhile versus Mark Isfeld up in Courtenay, but managed to pull away in the late quarters enroute to another solid victory an Nanaimo District added a third consecutive win in methodical fashion Friday afternoon as they visited the improving Edward Milne Wolverines in Sooke. On the mainland the crazy divisional horse race continued with Frank Hurt zapping a stunned Bateman crew and Moscrop getting some much needed payback on Sounder home-turf. The upcoming playoff scenario...well we sent the math to the number crunchers at an MIT think-tank for evaluation with the early word that a Nobel Prize may be awarded to he who figures out this conundrum. Vegas odds makers are certainly on the edge of their collective seats.
GI's Picks Week Eight
Friday, 29 October
Sands at Mt. Douglas: If Sands isn't already limping headed into this game, they surely will be limping coming out of it. Kudo's to Coach U however for scheduling perhaps teh toughest group of exhibition tilts in BC. Those Scorpion survivors will be all grissle. Mt. Doug will take this game handily for a couple of reasons: 1) Team speed: the Rams are loaded with it and can stretch the field in ways that will expose the Scorpions. 2) Depth: Sands has a very short bench and will get worn down as the game proceeds. One thing to consider in favor of the Scorpions is how well they played against a red-hot South Delta crew on the weekend. Signs of life returning to this proud crew.
GI's Pick: Mt. Doug by 21
Okanagen Mission at Kelowna: This game may have seemed like a good idea at the time and certainly has a rivalry quality to it but OKM is in very tough on Friday. The Owls are having their break-through season and OKM is on a rebuild to put things mildly.
GI's Pick: Kelowna by 36
Rick Hansen at Abbottsford Collegiate: This is going to be a lights out good game. Abbey is playing extremely good-tough ball and is surely a program on-the-rise in the short to mid-term. Rick Hansen is playing for playoff survival and indeed, controls its own playoff destiny. A win on Friday for the Hurricanes will set the stage for a fourth place showdown with the Pitt Marauders in week 9. "Don't Stop Believing" Hurricanes! Also, don't get caught looking ahead either.
GI's Pick: Hansen by 1 Pitt Meadows at Mission: If there was ever a game this year that could be classified as a hidden danger on Mission's railway tracks, this is it. Pitt is playing its best ball of the season and Mission is coming off of a dramatic, emotional win versus Handsworth. The Roadrunners also have to be looking ahead to what is going to be a first place showdown with number one ranked Windsor to end the year. The Marauders are a very good team and I cannot imagine a single player on their squad who is not amped to go hand it to the 2nd ranked team in the province. Roadrunner beware!! This said, Mission is the complete package in all phases of the game and has the edge on depth, size and speed. That is tough math to beat. Turnovers, opportunism and emotional momentum are going to be everything in this contest. Pitt is fertile ground for those game changing seeds.
GI's Pick: Mission has a bit of a scare in this game but overcomes...Roadrunners by 14 Handsworth at Langley: Langley is playing for program pride and momentum headed into 2011. Handsworth has got to be somewhat banged-up after this past weekend's physical affair at Mission. This could keep the score a lot closer than some might think. The Royals however are playing ball at a whole different level than the Saints and will toss, trap and counter their way to big second half scores.
GI's Pick: Handsworth by 26
South Delta at Hugh Boyd: Two teams on different trajectories. South Delta is easily the hottest one loss (divisional) team in BC playing very complete defense and throwing the football at a level that has few peers in the province. Hugh Boyd is beat-up at key positions and is probably downloading a lot of Blues classics from limewire. The SunDevils will match up very well versus the Trojan run game and they ought to shred the Boyd Secondary via the air. Pray for lots of wind and Rain on Friday Trojans.
GI's Pick: South Delta by 26
Valleyview at Norkam: The Valleyview ground and pound Juggernaut shows up at Norkam's door and will block, smack and overpower beleagured Saint defenders all afternoon. The Valleyview defense will be a physical reflection of its offensive style. Look for a big score by game's end.
GI's Pick: Valleyview by 19
Mark Isfeld at Nanaimo District: Very interesting match-up here with Isfeld having the edge in terms of pure athletes, size and speed.Nanaimo District however is a tough nut to crack at home, especially late season and the Islanders are riding a three game winning streak headed into this one. Ball security and penalties could be big in determining the outcome.
GI's Pick: Islanders by 2
Gulf Islands at Belmont: The number one ranked Belmont Bulldogs are sitting at the table with a Royal Flush! Home field advantage, momentum, size, speed and the expectation of victory. Gulf Islands is plucky and well, they always scrap hard and make games interesting. It won't be enough to win on Friday.
GI's Pick: Belmont by 32
Frank Hurt at Moscrop: OK, here we go: A Hornet Victory will solidify a first place divisional finish for Frank Hurt. If Moscrop wins by a good score, they will be inside track for all the divisional marbles. The difference maker in terms of who to pick in this one boils down to consistency. Frank Hurt is playing consistently better football over a longer period of time.
GI's Pick: Hornets by 8
Saturday, 30 October
Clarence Fulton at Mt. Baker: Good team-building road-trip for the Maroons...In early September maybe. Now it is a long bus-ride for a one sided, mercy timed game on a cold grey October day.
GI's Pick: Maroons by 48
John Barsby at Seaquam: The Coastal Conference will have a showdown here for first place in the division. A Seaquam big win gives them the inside track to number 1 and South Delta hope for an outside shot at number 1/ very realistic chance for #2 in the division. Barsby controls its own fate in this game as well with a victory leaving Nanaimo's Bulldogs sitting pretty for the playoffs. Seaquam matches up very, very well in this game against Barsby at every position. The Seahawks are playing at home and Barsby will have Ferry and Bus legs coming off a long travel day. Bulldogs beware of upset conditions! Turnovers, trick-plays (defending them too!) and special teams will be huge determining factors in this game. Both teams relish physical football, are used to playing on grass and have developed a bit of a rivalry over the years. Seaquam has had two weeks to prepare for Barsby's Double-Wing and will look to counter Barsby's defensive speed with plenty of screens. Quite frankly, Coach Pechet is the master of the ambush and Barsby would do well to forget about this season's accomplishments to date and focus on their very dangerous adversary! This will be very, very close.
GI's Pick: Barsby by 1
Vernon at Westsyde: Vernon has been playing better ball and has a bigger pool of athletes than their hosts. Still a long trip has its dangers and Westsyde has been playing some quality competition of late so their game will be a pretty high level all things considered. Athletes however win games.
GI's Pick: Vernon by 12
Howe Sound at Robert Bateman: Big, Big Big is how this game can best be described for both squads. Bateman's up and down year continues. They are coming off of a down week and now host a tough but road weary Howe Sound crew. I like Bateman in this game because they are playing at home and the Sounders are not good on the road. All other factors considered, this is even in terms of key match-ups across the offensive and defensive boards. Bateman will find its run game big-time!
GI's Pick: Bateman by 18
Timberline at Edward Milne: Timberline is a complete package and Milne is still building. The compound interest of two years of consistency in the Timberline offensive system will weigh in as a factor in favor of the Wolves. This is a budding rivalry game between the two teams who reside at the geographical extremes of the Island football diaspora. It will be played tough with lots of emotion. If Timberline can successfully air the ball out, the score will be big. If not, this game will be determined late in the 4th quarter. I like the chess in this one! Timberline's offensive assault versus the Wolverine defense...who will bring the most pressure on their opponent??? We will know in under a week.
A fantastic thing about the BC Secondary Schools Football Association is the opportunity for players to obtain scholarship funding/awards. The below information is a copy of a communique sent to all Varsity Coaches in the Province. If you as a player are interested, you should contact your Coach SAP to get your package together and mailed out.
BC Secondary Schools Football Scholarships:
ACADEMIC PLAYER OF THE YEAR (1)
- Outstanding football player with outstanding academic achievement
- Must play football next year (or the following) At the next level
- At least 3.2 GPA
CORPORATE SCHOLARSHIPS (7)
- Outstanding Players who combine academic with community involvement and volunteerism
- Not necessary to play football at the next level
- At least 3.2 GPA
1. Letter of nomination from Head Coach
2. Transcripts and other academic supporting documentation
3. Resume from player or letter from him
APPLICATION DEADLINE - Friday, Nov 12th
Please submit to Bernie Crump at: BCrump@sd43.bc.ca
COACHES: WINNERS MUST PROVIDE HI-LITE TAPE FOR BANQUET
3. Frank Hurt
4. Robert Bateman
5. Nanaimo District
Week Six In Review
The Coastal Division continued to tear itself to shreds hi-lited by Seaquam's dismantling of Sands on Saturday and a South Delta sinking of the Whalers on their respective home fields. The Mainland Division played out much as expected with Windsor narrowly surviving a Marauder assault, Mission carving up Abbey, and Handsworth bringin some BC love down to SanDiego. Rick Hansen needed a great effort to get past Langley as well and the Hurricanes are still alive in the playoff hunt. The Interior gave us a Valleyview upset over their OKM nemisis and yep, they "showed" ol GI that he had better pay closer attention to Viking ops on future Fridays and Saturdays! Up in Prince George country, the table has been set for this coming weekend's first place showdown between Vanderhoof's favorite sons and the PGSS Polars as both squads secured victory and an unblemished divisional record.
Tier 2 action was what it should be this past weekend with a whole lot of hard-fought one touchdown differentials on the scoreboard. Belmont kept their league record perfect narrowly edging Timberline on Friday while up Island Milne and Nanaimo District won close games vs Gulf Islands and Vanier respectively. On the Mainland the playoff picture got scrambled like a flipped over Risk board when Bateman and Frank Hurt thoroughly trampled Moscrop and Howe Sound. It looks like the divisional race in that conference is going to be unclear until week nine. Gotta say, things are surely interesting in 2010.
GI's Week Seven Picks
Thursday, 21 October
Dutchess Park at Kelley Road: The Condors are smiling after last weekends win but Kelley Road looms large in their collective headlights. The Roadrunners played tough in their loss vs an undefeated PGSS squad and quite simply have more horses than the men in gold and black. Gotta give this one to Kelley Road on the strength of their offensive backfield.
GI's Pick: Kelley Road by 12
Friday, 22 October
Earl Marriot at Rick Hansen: A good exhibition pick-up for Hansen and Marriot. Late season bye weeks are bad mojo in terms of interrupting momentum and Hansen has been gaining some of late. This game will be close for four quarters as both programs have a fairly recent history playing one another and similar rosters in terms of athleticism. Earl Marriot is more rested and that could be the differential.
GI's Pick: Mariners by 4
Valleyview at Westsyde: Valleyview is on a roll. Westsyde is in their path and it is not going to be a pleasant experience for the Whundas.
GI's Pick: Westsyde by 27 on the legs of a strong running game.
Hugh Boyd at John Barsby: A very meaningful game for both teams, each of which is coming off of a bye week. A Boyd win throws the Coastal Division into a mathematical quagmire for playoff seeding and a Barsby win sets the stage for a first place showdown with Seaquam the following week. The bye changes the complexion of this game significantly and both squads have had time to prepare for one another's somewhat unique offensive attacks. Look for defense and special teams to play a huge role in this game. Also, a well timed trick-play could impact the game's outcome as well. The Trojans are a threat to go deep via the air on every play. Barsby can pop a big run at any time. Defensively both teams have very quick linebackers and secondary players. The battle at the LOS will be pivotal on Friday. The kicking game will be big in terms of starting field position. Boyd has probably the best kicker in BC and touchback kick-offs are consistently in his range.
GI's Pick: Barsby by six
Abbottsford Collegiate at Pitt Meadows: This game will be physical! Both teams like to throw themselves around on the field of play. The edge in team speed goes to Pitt; The edge on the ground to Abbey and the edge via the air to Pitt. Momentum is important at this stage in the game as well and Pitt has lots. The Marauders have got to know that they are in a position to narrow the gap on securing the 4th place seed into the playoff tournament. They will play as such.
GI's Pick: Pitt by 16
Handsworth at Mission: Oh to be a spectator at this game!! Two of AA's elite programs bench bossed by two elite coaches in a game with huge playoff meaning. This one is big folks! The outcome of this game will have as much to do with how each team has gone about their business since last season's end as it will be about this week's prep. This is the knife's edge gang. The fate of the game will hinge upon defense. Handsworth traps, counters and Tosses exceptionally. The pressure and physicality of this approach will really test the Roadrunner Defense. Conversely, Handsworth lives by the zone pass defense and Mission's offense is geared to get the ball into the seams and deadspace of such schemes. A sudden switch to man coverage will not favor the Royals in terms of match-ups or indeed familiarity. I don't think that Mission can run the ball effectively vs the Handsworth D, but will be able to do so just enough to buy some time for their standout QB. The ability to pass protect vs the blitz and find the screens will be key for the Roadrunner Offense and Handworth defense. The Royals will be able to run the ball in this game. Can Handsworth keep pace on the scoreboard?
GI's Pick: This Mission team differentiates itself from years past because it can play run defense. Mission by 12
Prince George at Nechako Valley: The winner of this game is likely the North Division seed to the playoff tournament. Both teams have momentum and both teams have been scoring a lot of points en-route to this clash. The most noticeable difference in how they have gotten to this point is defense. The sons of Vanderhoof have been playing better D up to now now and this has them primed in GI's books for a win this weekend.
GI's Pick: Nechako Valley by 8
Correlieu at College Heights: Its pretty simple with this game...College Heights has been playing better football this year. This will not change.
GI's Pick: College Heights by 18
Windsor at Langley: Windsor got taken briefly to the mat last weekend. There was probably a little more to the story than just the quality of their opponent. This weekend, they will be back on track and Coach Schuman will ensure they are at a Duke standard. Langley is a fairly tough group and will bring it physically, but are simply outmatched. You also gotta wonder where their spirits are right now.
GI's Pick: Windsor by 28
Edward Milne at Nanaimo District: Very evenly matched game athletically. Milne has the big play athletes in this game which will certainly make for some interesting moments for the Islander fans gathered to watch this tilt. Nanaimo District has turned a corner with their season and last weekends victory over Vanier has a lot to do with their newfound momentum. I think Milne is getting close to playing the big games, but is not there yet.
GI's Pick: Nanaimo District by 8
Belmont at Mark Isfeld: Belmont is gradually assuming its role as the big dogs of Vancouver Island. It may be Tier 2 this year, but eventually this program has to assume its manifest destiny as the hulking football collossus it can potentially be. Back to earth now, they have one foot up on the doorsteps to that world and are picking up their other foot to even up their stance. A big win vs Timberline adds momentum to this year's climb and the Isfeld Ice stand in the way. Belmont looms large in every category...size, speed, physicality etc. Isfeld has some very good athletes as well, but they are not all pulling in the same direction as are the Bulldogs.
GI's Pick: Belmont by 24 via ground and air.
Saturday, 23 October
Ballenas at Timberline: A superb exhibition choice for both coaching staffs. Timberline will benefit by playing high quality competition and thus raising their game headed into late-season play and playoff tilts. Ballenas has had a rough couple of weeks and is in dire need of some offensive and defensive positives during Monday's team meeting. Good medicine abounds for this one. Also, this is a good Island rivalry that should be kept alive! On the field, Timberline has a well oiled offense that will certainly challenge the Whaler defensive scheme. Problem is for Timberline, they like to throw and the Whaler secondary is its defensive strength. The Whalers have more team speed on offense than Timberline does on Defense. Bad math for the Wolves. Kicking-game...expect anything from Ballenas.
GI's Pick: There will be lots of points on the board at the conclusion of this game. Ballenas will have 21 more.
OKM at Mt. Baker: This game will relieve the Huskies of that stinging sensation they are collectively feeling after last weekend's loss to Valleyview. Mt. Baker is still learning the game.
GI's Pick: OKM by 34
Norkam at Clarence Fulton: The Maroons are perched atop of their historical place amongst Interior AA football competition. This game is important in terms of solidifying their hold on the number 1 seed out of their conference. Fulton will get it done with outside runs and PAP. Norkam's run game will keep the score close for a good chunk of the game before they get left behind.
GI's Pick: Fulton by 14
Sands at South Delta: Two teams headed different directions! The loss to Barsby may have been a gift in disguise to the Sundevils who thereafter have been perfect on the field. Sands is in for a rough time on Saturday as the SunDevils match-up with the Scorpion size, have a deeper bench and a passing game that will carve up a slower Scorpion Secondary. This said, Sands is no group of quitters and they have to have an air of "now or never" in the back of their heads. The game will hinge on how effective Sands can be in terms of ball control and keeping the South Delta offense sitting on its hands. Look for some attempted trick-plays by the Scorpions in this game. Big problem with this however is the fact that the South-Delta coaches are trick-play masters. South Delta will not win this game by running anyone over but they darn-sure can throw the pigskin. A short Sands bench will leave them very winded by mid 2nd quarter and that is when the big plays will begin to occur for South Delta.
GI's Pick: South Delta by 18
Moscrop at Howe Sound: Now here is going to be a very close, physical game. I think the edge here will have to do with travel. Bus legs vs Sounders on their home turf. Both of these teams are smarting after big losses to divisional opponents this past weekend and the winner has sunny playoff days ahead while the vanquished has much important work to do. Moscrop's offense is more balanced than Howe Sound's. The Sounders need to find a way to make it one dimensional in order to win. Defensively, these teams know one another pretty good so the surprises won't be that dramatic. Turnovers will be game changers, period.
GI's Pick: Howe Sound by 1
Robert Bateman at Frank Hurt: OK Bateman, you guys are surely back to early season form and Frank Hurt, looking good fellas, looking good. Both squads flipped the divisional apple cart on its side last weekend and served notice that nothing is a given in Tier 2 Lower Mainland play. You gotta love the parity this year!! So what gives this Saturday? Frank Hurt has more balance but Bateman the edge on team speed. Experience goes to Frank Hurt, but the gap is narrowing. Frank Hurt has home field and Bateman is not a team of road warriors in 2010. I am thinking the winner will be at minimum a semi-finalist in November.
GI's Pick: Hornets by 4
Gulf Islands at G.P. Vanier: The past two weeks have seen these squads play a common opponent, the Nanaimo District Islanders. Gulf Islands got shut out and Vanier played a very close game. Vanier has a deeper bench, bigger-stronger athletes and running backs who are true downhill runners. Gulf Islands only has a shot at winning this game if they can keep themselves from being gutted by Vanier's inside running game. If the quick and scrappy Scorpions can make Vanier run laterally they have a chance.
Rivalry Week played out as advertised with a slew of hard-fought, close games. In particular the Windsor-Handsworth Tilt, Hugh Boyd-Sands and Barsby-Ballenas Border Battle. Up North the PGSS win over Dutchess Park and the Nechako Valley victory over Quesnel has set the stage for a first place showdown up in PG. South Delta edged neighborhood rival Seaquam and Mission continued to roll through its AA schedule with a dominant performance vs cross-river rival Rick Hansen. Interior action saw Clarence Fulton and OKM declare they are top rail in that neck of the woods.
Rivalry T's (click image to enlarge)
Tier 2 saw statement games from Belmont, Moscrop and Timberline. Nanaimo District showed signs of new life with a shutout performance while Howe Sound and Frank Hurt are looking to recover from weekend setbacks.
Looking Ahead To Week Six
Autumn is here. The leaves are starting to depart from their branches and fall to the forest floor. Right now there are still more leaves on the trees than on the ground. Next week that ratio will decline significantly. So goes the October leaves, so goes the playoff hopes of several programs after this week's games. The they hyper-competitive Coastal Division will see some clarity emerge but no-one eliminated from the playoffs. The Mainland division will see a couple "leaves" fall off the divisional tree. Tier two is going to be an absolute dogfight this weekend with field maintenance crews removing plenty of battlefield detrius come Sunday. There will be a fierce sense of urgency on many practice fields this week.
GI's Picks Week Six
Thursday, October 14th
Nechako Valley @ College Heights: A big win on the weekend for the Cougars sets the stage for their Thursday Night tilt vs the gang from Vanderhoof. This game will be close early on account of latent momentum from the big weekend win for College Heights but the Vikings will out-play their hosts as the game unfolds.
GI's Pick: Nechako Valley by 14
Friday, October 15th
Westsyde @ NorKam: Westsyde is playing some scrappy ball this year. This is a good cross-town rivalry up in Kamloops. Norkam is trying to get its legs under itself and live up to the roster's potential. Friday will be a step in the right direction for the Saints.
GI's Pick: Norkam by 16
Handsworth @ Coranado HS (SanDiego,CA): Tough game to predict. Coranado are no world beaters and Handsworth is very, very good.
GI's Pick: Handsworth by 13
Pitt Meadows @ Windsor: Mild upset alert here. If Windsor is going to get caught napping this year, this is the game. Pitt is getting into dangerous form and has tons of momentum coming off of last weekend's blowout win over Langley. The Dukes have to be a bit tenderized from their physical affair with Handsworth and hec, these programs have brought a bit of rivalry up from previous years within the JV ranks. Windsor's cover 3 is iron-clad and the Dukes play great run defense beneath their shell. Will Pitt be patient and "chip away" underneath or will they try to blow the roof off with four vertical? Pass protection will be everything! Defensively the Marauders are an opportunistic blitz happy crew. This could leave them vulnerable to Windsor's accomplished trapping and quick hitting run game not to mention their arsenal of screens. I think the Dukes will spread em out a bit on Friday.
GI's Pick: Windsor by 11
Langley @ Rick Hansen: This is pretty much Langley's last shot at a playoff berth for 2010. They better be playing some Bee-Gees "Stayin Alive" in the ol locker room right now. The Same goes for the game but increasingly alarmed crew at Rick Hansen. A loss puts em waaaay behind a huge Pitt Meadows eight ball. Both teams will play hard, desparate ball and I think special teams and defense will have a large say here.
GI's Pick: Next Week's 80's locker-room tune in the Hansen building will be Journey's "Don't Stop Believing". Hurricanes by 16
Hansen Fight Song 2010
Dutchess Park @ Correlieu: The Condors are stabilizing and playing good ball right now. Correlieu is looking for something, anything to salvage their season. Keep looking Clan, Condors will fly high.
GI's Pick: Dutchess Park by 16
Valleyview @ Okanagen Mission: The Huskies have found their bite and the Vikings had best stay off-shore and secure in their long boats. When the Viking raid occurs on Friday, they will find the OKM townsfolk well armed and ready to unleash some gridiron smashmouth of their own. OKM has the athletes in this contest and is dominant in pretty much every phase of the game.
GI's Pick: OKM by 17
Prince George @ Kelley Road: Well, the two true AAA sized schools up in PG are gonna dance on Friday Night. Remember that Spike TV series "toughest animal" back in the day?? Here we have Polar Bear vs Roadrunner. Look for bloody, feather mottled bear tracks in the parking lot outside Massey Stadium late Friday Night.
GI's Pick: Polars reaching collision speed for next week's 1st place tilt vs NVSS. Polars by 10
Mission @ Abbottsford Collegiate: Mission is miles and miles ahead in every program/team/scheme category but one, motivation and toughness. Nobody in the game of football has the market cornered in terms of heart and desire. Further, the Roadrunners could be caught looking ahead to their upcoming Book of Revelations battle vs Handsworth, a mis-step than teenage athletes are prone to take. Though Mission should easily take this contest I smell D A N G E R. How so, well Abbey is physical for one and they are definitely in a frame of mind to shed their AA "Kid Brother" status by deed. What better way than to go put a smack on BC's number 2 ranked squad. For another thing, there are good, explosive athletes on the underdog squad and if weather or freak turnovers have a say, anything could happen.
GI's Pick: Mission is too experienced and too well led to fall into a trap. Roadrunners by 24
Edward Milne @ Gulf Islands: The EM Wolverines and GI Scorpions are both looking for a win to get their season pointed in the right direction. This will be a very close contest. The Scorpions are throwbacks in terms of style and tenacity. The Wolverines have some very good individual athletes. A word to the EM O. Coordinator, Wolverines attack forwards, they don't run laterally very well or jump real high.
GI's Pick: Gulf Islands by 7
Timberline @ Belmont: Game of the Week on the Island! Both of these teams are enjoying some serious momentum headed into their tilt on the artificial turf of Bear Mountain. The so called "tale of the tape" has Timberline out athleted at almost every position. The Wolves however are benefactors of the most complete offensive scheme/arsenal in Tier 2 and some very visceral coaching on the line and defense. Timberline can really chuck the ball when they have time and weather to do so. If this game turns into a thumping match that is run-driven, I like Belmont. If Belmont can find a way to pressure the passer while taking away screens and quick hitters, I like Belmont. If Belmont trys to play finesse ball, I like Timberline. Special Teams, could be HUGE!
GI's Pick: Belmont keeps it close for a half and then has an epiphany...."Hey, we are big nasty and fast...our football childhood is over, clobbering people is FUN AND WE CAN DO IT!," Belmont by 24
Nanaimo District @ G.P. Vanier: Vanier and Nanaimo both had much needed wins over the past weekend. Vanier has the best athletes in this tilt, the size and the team speed. Nanaimo, well, they are very gritty and feel like they have underachieved thus far. The winner of this game has playoff momentum, the loser, some hard and urgent work in the weeks ahead. Turnovers will be MASSIVE in determining this weekend's outcome.
GI's Pick: Nanaimo finds a way to win by 6
Saturday, October 16th
Ballenas @ South Delta: This is essentially a mid-October playoff game. At stake, a shot at the #4 playoff seed or higher coming out of the Coastal Conference. The weather will have a lot to do with the outcome of this game as both offenses could be limited somewhat by what they can do if it is a rain-soacked affair. Lets look at match-ups: Size up-front goes to S. Delta; LB speed to South Delta; Defensive Backs-Even; Passing Game-Different but Even; Running Backs-Ballenas by a hair; Receivers-Draw; Offensive Scheme-Ballenas is more versatile; Quarterbacks-two of the best on the Coast, each with a different style and game-breaking bag of tricks;Defenses, both like to and can hit; Depth-Both teams are in big trouble if they don't have a healthy QB.
GI's Pick: I think that Ballenas can keep it close on Defense and has more ways to get the ball across the goal-line than their hosts. Whalers by 3
Sands @ Seaquam: Em and Em or whatever his name is has just now released a Slim Shady re-mix..."Will the Real Sands please stand-up, please stand-up?" Whats going on with "the bugs"? Was the refereeing at the Boyd game that bad? Were you guys hurt? Flu Season? Did beavers gnaw off your cleat studs before the game? Were the Trojans that good? Well, questions will surely be answered as you guys travel to Seaquam to smack-down with the always physical SeaHawks. Of all the teams on your schedule this far Sands, Seaquam matches up with you pretty darn good physically up front and at LB. Coach Pechet is a smart, smart bench boss and he is going to hit you where you aint of offense and bring it on D. If this thing stays close for four quarters, I think a special teams play or a turnover will tip-the balance. IF THE SCORE STAYS CLOSE. Something tells me Sands will unload in better than early season form.
GI's Pick: Sands by 18
Vernon @ Mt. Baker: Vernon rolls into Cranbrook, rolls Mt. Baker, rolls back out-of town..."Big Wheels Keep on Turnin...."
GI's Pick: Vernon by 21
Frank Hurt @ Howe Sound: Lets call this one half of the Lower Mainland Tier 2 semi-final for playoff berthing. This will be a very physical smashmouth type of shoving match that will sort-out each team's post-season destiny to a large degree. The Hornets will have some bus legs early and that could cause them some difficulties. The Sounders under achieved after their epic ferry jouney to play Belmont last week.
GI's Pick: Got to go with the Sounders playing at home. Howe Sound by 6
Moscrop @ Robert Bateman: In the other semi....Bateman's TB will face an entire defensive unit hell bent on making his afternoon a dirt tasting affair. This is Bateman's biggest test to date as an offense as the supporting cast had better be able to ralley to take the pressure off of their offensive meal-ticket. Moscrop is much further along as a team that has been together over the past few years. This will be a difference maker is the one on one match-ups as well as the offensive, defensive and special teams unit play. Bateman's sole advantage is playing in front of the home crowd. Always worth some extra motivation and a point or two.
Four of AA's top five continued to win while Sands gathered itself, licked its wounds and prepared for week 5. Of the top five, it looks like Mission is really hitting its stride offensively and defensively. Barsby started its league schedule in physical style and Windsor and Handsworth chewed up opponents in methodical fashion. Up North, Nechako Valley of Vanderhoof defeated Kelley Road by a large score and now has the inside track along with the PGSS Polars for top seed coming out of that division. A "road warrior" Ballenas squad convincingly defeated divisional foe Hugh Boyd on Friday to gain much needed momentum and team confidence headed into Friday's Border Battle vs arch rival John Barsby.
JB vs South Delta
Tier 2 saw a great game between Howe Sound and Moscrop that looked to be going the Panther's way until a late fourth quarter implosion sealed the deal for the number one ranked Sounders. Frank Hurt gained momentum and Belmont played a statement game vs G.P. Vanier on the road. Timberline made it two in a row for the Wolves vs a visiting Nanaimo District squad and stands poised to continue their streak this coming weekend.
Looking Ahead To Week 5
Week five should be labelled AA rivalry week for sure. There are many meaningful games between programs who really step-it up when looking across the field a color/team that drives em mad! The AA hilite games will be the Windsor-Handsworth tilt and the Border Battle between Ballenas and Barsby. A Whaler victory on Friday will make scrambled eggs of the conference playoff picture and a Barsby victory will set the stage for late season dramatics to come. The Dukes and Royals have to look at this game with a huge degree of anticipation and Mission will certainly be casting a curious eye in their direction as well! Tier 2 is beginning to take form and the Northern Conference is set to declare playoff front runners as well. Looks like a great week of ball ahead!!
GI's Week 5 Picks
Wednesday, October 6th
Robert Bateman at Langley: This is going to be one of the big provincial rivalries as the series gets going. Both teams are smarting after weekend losses and are looking for a measure of redemption. Langley has the more veteren squad headed into this tilt and will benefit as a result.
GI's Pick: Langley by 8
Wednesday, October 7th
Windsor at Handsworth: OK gang, the winner of this game will go on to compete with Mission to win the divisional first place seed, the loser will be fighting for number two or three vs the Roadrunners in the weeks to come. This is a three horse race and the game played Wednesday represents one of the most enduring and hard fought rivalries in BC! Handsworth has been racking up impressive numbers offensively this year. Windsor has been very balanced offensively and able to play good defense throughout. Both squads have been superb on special teams. So what is going to give? I think Handsworth is going to be a victim of its own consistency. The Royals run a seamless offensive package from g. 8-12 and it serves them well as each year; they pick-up where they left off the previous Fall. Windsor's Coach Schuman could probably sit down with a dry erase marker and sketch-up the Royal offense in detail given 5-10 minutes. Surprises for the Duke defense will be few and far between. The breaks in this game will be the result of athletic mismatches if they occur or mental lapses on the Windsor defensive side.
GI's Pick: Windsor by 8
Correlieu at Nechako Valley: I am starting to get the feeling that Nechako Valley is the team to beat up North. Correlieu is struggling this year and their woes will continue.
GI's Pick: Nechako Valley by 40
Friday, October 8th
John Barsby at Ballenas: HUGE Rivalry game here! If there are two programs who love to dust it up with each other, the Dawgs and Whalers fit the bill. The players in this game have been at it since their Pee-Wee days and know each other well having not only played on opposing rosters across the years, but attended camps, clinics etc. as peers. Ballenas found its offense last weekend vs the Trojans of Hugh Boyd and Coach Hines is the master of putting together a Double Wing eating defense. Coach Conn's offense will have more wrinkles than a week old laundry pile. Barsby will roll into Parksville firing on all cylinders. The Dawgs have also been quietly putting together a very good defensive season to accompany their special teams and offensive units. I think that this game will boil down to who can defend the deep pass and take care of the football. Both teams may find that running yards are hard to come by.
GI's Pick: Barsby by 7
Mission at Rick Hansen: Another rivalry game! Mission looks to have an edge in just about every offensive and defensive catagory that exists. Hansen is not going to show-up and cry uncle however. The math in this one is too one sided for the game to be close in the end.
GI's Pick: Mission by 24
Langley at Pitt Meadows: A natural rivalry by geography and program culture. These programs are virtual neighbors with almost identical program birthdays. This game will be a good measure of how far each has come as their journey has progressed these past four years. Pitt seems to have an edge in athleticism and has been playing tougher competition to date. I like the Panthers to create some big plays via the blitz and to get behind coverage more than once. The internet provides a sketch of a short benched group of Saints as well.
GI's Pick: Pitt by 18
Dutchess Park at Prince George: These schools have been athletic rivals since the late 1960's and the rivalry now moves on to the gridiron. Prince George is undefeated this year and Dutchess has been playing a tough schedule that has expedited their learning curve. PGSS is a far larger school and has athletes that reflect the pool they draw from.
GI's Pick: Polars by 16
Okanagen Mission at NorKam: The Huskies roll in with a big physical roster. Norkam matches up well. The Saints will pound away on the ground and if they can cover a decent OKM passing game, they ought to pull away in the late quarters. I think they can.
GI's Pick: Norkam by 8
College Heights at Kelley Road: The Roadrunners will bounce back from their dismantling at the hands of the crew from Vanderhoof. College Heights is having a struggle this year and they will find no respite at the hands of their bigger, stronger cross-town rival.
GI's Pick: Kelley Road by 24
Howe Sound at Belmont: Tier 2 Game of the week here. Howe Sound is going to be playing a very tough and athletic group on the artificial surface of Bear Mountain Stadium. The Belmont Bulldogs are a program that is transforming into a realization of its potential. The athletes are there and the experience is beginning to accrue. Howe Sound is riding high thus far but now faces an opponent that matches up athlete for athlete on a fast track at the end of a long road-trip. U P S E T.
GI's Pick: Belmont by 14
Gulf Islands at Nanaimo: Nanaimo always plays Gulf Islands tough. The Scorpions do have a speed advantage and a throwback mentality in terms of motor and toughness. This game will be close.
GI's Pick: Gulf Islands by 12 on two long runs.
Vanier at Edward Milne: Vanier is looking to put together four quarters of play. A long bus ride and a scrappy Milne football team stand in their way. Vanier wins most of the athletic match-ups in this one. Milne is a more cohesive team on both sides of the ball.
GI's Pick: Milne by 10
Moscrop at Frank Hurt: A budding Tier 2 rivalry here with number 2 and 3 clawing at one another for a leg up in the playoffs. Both teams run the ball very good and the Hornets are beginning to believe they can run the table. The Panthers are on the verge of an offensive explosion. This game is close in every unit by unit, player by player match-up.
GI's Pick: Moscrop by 6
Timberline at Mark Isfeld: Timberline has been quietly assembling some quality wins. Isfeld needs to be very dialed in to the Timberline offense to have much of a chance. Seems a bit of a stretch to me.
GI's Pick: Timberline makes it three in a row with a 20 pt. spread on the score.
Saturday, October 9th
Hugh Boyd at Sands: Sands has yet to find an AA opponent who can match up with their physicality. Having survived a brutal first three weeks of play, the Scorpions are coming off of a much needed bye week to confront the visiting Trojans. Hugh Boyd has always played Sands well and this is one of those dark hearted affairs in terms of program rivalry. Both teams will be coming at each other hard. Sands has bigger muscles swinging a bigger stick.
GI's Pick: Sands by 28
Seaquam at South Delta: Nice geographic rivalry here. South Delta is behind the eight ball for playoffs if they lose this game, a fact not lost upon anyone in the program. Seaquam is improving week-to-week and Coach Pechet feels he has the Seahawks on the right track at this time of the season. This game will come down to defense. Can Seaquam defend a superb SunDevil passing game and can South Delta shut down the SeaHawk ground assault. Mother nature may have a bit of a say in this game. South Delta is much better than their record would indicate and assumptions to the contrary could hurt the chances of the visiting team.
GI's Pick: South Delta gets it done by air and plays some tough run D en-route to a 12 point win.
Valleyview at Vernon: Valleyview is better than average this year. Vernon will play them close for two and a half quarters but the wheels will fall off thereafter.
GI's Pick: Valleyview by 10
Mt. Baker at Eureka (Montana): Good on Mt. Baker for scheduling this game. They should fill their exhibition schedule with US competition and will get better, faster as a result. Montanna loggers versus BC Loggers in this game. Eureka has been at it a lot longer on the football field.
GI's Pick: Eureka by 36
Westsyde at Clarence Fulton: Clarence Fulton has long been one of the top two Interior programs at the AA level. Westsyde is playing Tier 2 for a reason.
GI's Pick: Maroons maraude the boys in blue. Fulton by 26
Mission gave AAA powerhouse STM all they could handle at Burnaby lakes on Friday Night; Handsworth and Windsor served clear notice that the top seed coming out of the LM East will cross their doorsteps; Sands powered and plowed their way over the Whalers; Barsby scored big, and two very close games in the form of Langley-Abbey and Seaquam-Boyd were hard fought down south.
Up North, PGSS and Kelley road served notice to their conference that they will be the teams to reckon with and in the Interior final preparations for the regular season have been made.
Tier 2 saw its biggest upset of the young season with Howe Sound defeating the previously high scoring and unstoppable Robert Bateman at home; The defending champs out of Campbell River flexed their muscles an gained a measure of redemption vs the plucky Gulf Islands Scorpions of Saltspring Island; In the Comox Valley Civil War Mark Isfeld went down in the windy Bill Moore Park 20-14 against arch rivalG.P. Vanier in a hard fought game. Congratulations Towhees!
1. Howe Sound
2. Robert Bateman
4. Frank Hurt
Week 4 Prieview
Kelley Road at Nechako Valley: Kelley Road is coming into its own. Early season travel has paid dividends and there is much momentum headed into Wednesday's tilt. GI's Pick: Roadrunners become Road Stompers and squash their hosts by 28.
Correllieu at Prince George: A very nice looking win for the Polars vs College Heights! PGSS brings too much size and speed for Correllieu to handle. GI's Pick: Polars by 34
South Delta at John Barsby: A well rested Sundevil squad travels to Nanaimo to play the high scoring Bulldogs of Barsby. South Delta cancelled its game vs Holy Cross to lick its wounds and gain an extra week of prep for its league opener. The respective rosters are very evenly matched and the extra week of practice will help SD immensely as it tangles with Barsby's unconventional offense. Defensively, the host Dawgs are in tough vs the SD aerial assault and quick hitting running game. Turnovers and the ability of JB to handle the arsenal of Sundevil trick-plays will be major factors in determining Friday's winner. GI's Pick: Barsby by 6 Abbottsford Collegiate at Windsor: Windsor took care of its busniness against Hansen this past weekend in typical methodical, mistake free fashion. Abbottsford only has a chance in this one if they can get the edge in their PAP game. They won't be able to. GI's Pick: Windsor by 34
Handsworth at Rick Hansen: GI has been watching the Royals this year with increasingly raised eyebrows! Traditionally slow out of the gates, Handsworth has been having nothing to do with the historical script! The Hurricanes are in for a tough start to 2010 and must look for any positives/momentum that they can glean from this tilt. Things will get better in the coming weeks for RH but this week is going to be nasty in all three phases of the game. Look for a bigger score in this game than last week's Windsor tilt. GI's Pick: Handsworth by 36
Clarence Fulton at Okanagen Mission: This has the makings of an Interior bear knuckles brawl so-to-speak. The OKM pivot is a stud and he has some good linemen in front of him! IF the Huskies can find a running game, this game will be favorable to them offensively. Fulton has not been ducking tough competition and has held together as a team. League competition this weekend represents a payday of sorts and the hosts will let er rip. GI's Pick: Fulton by 6
Ballenas at Hugh Boyd: The Whalers played Sands tough this past Saturday and found many bright spots along the way. Boyd was in a four-quarter dogfight with regional rival Seaquam the same afternoon. In terms of roster athleticism, this is a very, very evenly matched contest across the board. Looking at video, Ballenas seems to have a slight advantage in the passing game while Boyd's power running favors the Trojans. Turnovers , special teams and the ability of Ballenas to travel well will affect the outcome. The Whalers will get behind coverage more than once. GI's Pick: Ballenas by 2
Dutchess Park at College Heights: Dutchess Park is getting stronger each week. College Heights has an air of exhaustion to them. GI's Pick: Condors by 27
Howe Sound at Moscrop: Tier 2 game of the week! If Howe Sound were hosting I'd say this would be a lock. They are not hosting however and Moscrop is a very good tier 2 squad. The difference maker in this game is Defense with a capital D and The Sounders took care of business vs Bateman last weekend. This game will be close but I like the Howe Sound defense as the difference maker. GI's Pick: Howe Sound by 4
Belmont at G.P. Vanier: Belmont has lots and lots of athletic talent on its roster. These guys are learning to put it all together as well. Vanier matches em athlete for athlete but are not as fluid on offense. GI's Pick: Belmont by 12
Langley at Mission: "The Saints go Marching On"...sadly for them, in this game they go marching on like lemmings over a tall cliff. Mission is dominant in every phase of this game and their pre-season schedule which was tougher than a boiled owl, will stand them in good stead as they host a rapidly improving Langley program/squad. There is a feeling around Mission that this is the year for the Roadrunners and well, that feeling is justified so far.
GI's Pick: Langley's run game gets smothered, Mission airs it out...Roadrunners by 26 plus.
Pitt Meadows at Seaquam: If you follow Seaquam football, you are going to be in for a lot of close, hard fought games in 2010. This will be no exception as the blitz happy Marauders come for an exhibition visit. Seaquam will blend some of Handsworth's tactical approach into their own schemes and it will be enough for a close margin of victory. GI's Pick: Seaquam by 8
Mark Isfeld at Gulf Islands: Isfeld brings too much size and speed to the contest for the Scorpions to handle defensively. The eveners in this game will be the Scorpion Wing-T and whether or not Isfeld tries to get fancy offensively. If they do, Gulf Islands has a knack over the years of keeping things close til late and then stinging opponents with a score they cannot recover from. Isfeld beware. GI's Pick: Isfeld by 7
Westsyde at Mt. Baker: Mt. Baker is improving. Not enough. GI's Pick: Westsyde by 14
Frank Hurt at Robert Bateman: This game will hinge on Frank Hurt's ability to make Batemen move the ball in ways other than a handoff or pitch to their outstanding tailback. If the Hornets can dominate time of posession they will also have another winning piece in place. If, If, If....too many of em. GI's Pick: Bateman by 14
Nanaimo District @ Timberline: A big Island rivalry up in Campbell River! NDSS has played a very tough pre-season in very tough fashion. Timberline is really getting its legs under itself. The Barsby game was extremely physical. NDSS is banged up. The Wolves are not. GI's Pick: Timberline by 16
Week 3 Baby...Opening Divisional Statements To Be Made!
Divisional play begins this week for many teams. Based on performances during weeks zero thru two, it is fair to say that there are games already with playoff implications. The parity in the two LM/Coastal conferences at AA is very notable and Tier 2 is not far off either. It is fair to say that opening losses could put a couple squads behind the playoff eight ball right out of the gates. Sunday night game video will be highly scrutinized by coaching staffs around the province! One exhibition game of note will be Mission's Saturday tilt versus AAA STMC. This is a bellweather game for Mission as its strengths and weaknesses will become transparent. Kudos to Coach Watrin for scheduling this, no sandbagging here! A prediction....Handsworth-Pitt is going to determine who will be #3 seed in their division.
1. Robert Bateman
2. Frank Hurt
3. Howe Sound
Week 2 Synopsys
Windsor, Pitt and Mission roll over AAA! Sands nearly pulls off a once in the decade upset over defending AAA champ Centennial and Bateman serves notice that it is the team to beat in Tier 2. The table is set for upcoming divisional tilts!
GI’s Week 3 Picks
Friday, September 24th
Nanaimo District @ John Barsby: The tenth annual Ray Kocher Classic rivalry game between these two South Nanaimo Schools will be played on Friday afternoon in Barsby's Canem Cage Stadium. Each year, both teams bring their best to the dance and it is always played with tons of heart and enthusiasm. This game will be no different and will certainly have The Islanders well seasoned for divisional play ahead. Barsby has been on a roll in all three phases of its game and is scoring points by the bushell.
GI's Pick: Barsby by 20
Valleyview @ Moscrop: Valleyview has cut no corners in pre-season play. Moscrop is huge and in year two of its wing-T attack. This will be a battle with the outcome hinging on the health of the Vikings roster after two rough and tumble tilts to start the year.
GI's Pick: Valleyview in a small upset by 7
Salmon Arm @ NorKam: The Golds are banged up but battle tested. A tough loss to Mt. Boucherie has em used to a close quarters grappling match but how much gas is left in the tank? Norkam is ascendent and fresh.
GI's Pick: Norkam by 6
Abbottsford Collegiate @ Langley: OK, the victors of the year's first big upset tangle with conference foe Langley at Langley's house. This will be a very, very close match-up athletically and schematically. Abbottsford has serious esprit-de-corps momentum heading into the game and are getting their PAP together. Langley cannot take this one off.
GI's Pick: The winner of this game will have an outside shot at the #4 playoff seed. The loser is in trouble. Abby by 7.
Rick Hansen @ Windsor: Yikes, the Hurricanes will roll into the Dukes court like a gentle breeze and will suffer the fate of most if not all of the Windsor AA opponents this year. If you have ever watched those nature shows of a praying mantis methodically dismantling its unfortunate prey, you get a picture of what the Duke offense is going to do. Defensively, the Dukes will be sound underneath their cover three tent. Hansen will play hard and be well coached, they are just sitting at the table with a poker pro holding a bad hand.
GI's Pick: Windsor by 22
Pitt Meadows @ Handsworth: This is going to be a fun one! Will the blitz happy and energetic Pitt Meadows crew be able to squeeze off the Handsworth Toss, Counter, Bootleg game. Look for the Royals to be hitting em fast and hard inside looking to pop big runs as the blitze washes over. There are going to be big plays offensively for the Royals interspersed with some negative yardage plays as the Marauders hit paydirt with their attacking defense. I reckon a screen or two will be thrown as well. Defensively, the Royals will be all over the deep pass and will pick-off more than one while forcing Pitt to run and chuck the short stuff. Turnovers will be decisive and Pitt cannot afford to let Handsworth get off to a quick start.
GI's Pick: Handsworth by 16
PGSS @ College Heights: College Heights has been on the road battling across the province since zero week. PG has taken homebound approach. The Cougars can only have improved week to week thus far with many kinks ironed out of their scheme. GI's Pick: College Heights by 14
Correlieu @ Kelley Road: Kelley Road has been playing a lot of football these past three weeks. Correlieu has not. The northern Roadrunners will send the Quesnel crew kicking rocks and mumbling back down the highway.
GI's Pick: Kelley Road by 24
Gulf Islands @ Timberline: Timberline is 0-2, but has played increasingly tough competition the past two weeks. The Wolves have to figure out how to stop the run if they expect to minimize a run happy Scorpion Offense. I think two weeks of experience will stand them in good stead.
GI's Pick: Scorpions have a lot of summer rust. Timberline by air wins by 14
Saturday, September 25th
South Delta @ Holy Cross (AAA): Holy Cross will be too physical for the Sundeviles en route to a convincing victory in all phases of the game. A loss to AA newcomer Abbottsford Collegiate has the Sundevils reeling a bit though it did look like there were some key Sundevil starters out of uniform on Friday.
GI's Pick: Holy Cross by 28
W.L. Seaton @ Kalmalka: There is simply very little known about either team. GI is going to leave it as a phantom game and ask that readers from the Vernon area post some thoughts on the comments section. GI's Pick: ????
Dutchess Park @ Westsyde: Dutchess Park ought to switch their name from the Condors to the "Road Warriors". Three weeks of travel will certainly stand this group in good stead and provide a profound sense of identity! Both schools are similar in size so the athletic match-up will be pretty even.
GI's Pick: Dutchess Park by 7
STMC (AAA) @ Mission: Game of the week here involving an AA squad. Mission is the real deal and it has all the athletic and coaching pieces to not only compete with this traditional AAA powerhouse, but to win. Lets face it, other than giant schools like Fox, Centennial and Mouat that combine great coaching/program organization year after year to go along with their draw of athletes and of course the athletes that show up at VC, the top teams in AA can play with and defeat much (maybe not all) of the overhyped AAA window dressing out there. Week after week this is evidenced each year in pre-season.
GI's Pick: Mission by 10
Clarence Fulton @ Mount Boucherie (AAA): The Bears have a good football team on their hands, no doubt about it. Fulton is wise however to play them as this will help them prepare for the regular season at a winning level.
GI's Pick: Mt. Boucherie by 21
Ballenas @ Sands: Mad respect and a big shout out to the Scorpions for their game vs AAA Centenial. You guys took em to the mat and almost pulled it off! Parksville's Whalers are in tough against the Scorpions and are going to have to do everything they can to finnesse their way around the Scorpion defense. Sands will play its power ball game and the Whalers will likely substitute heavily and try to minimize shoving matches with plenty of fronts, stunts and blitzes. Trick plays may be evidenced in this game as well.
GI's Pick: Sands is too strong, Scorpions by 28
Hugh Boyd @ Seaquam: A good old fashioned neighborhood dust-up this Saturday. Seaquam will not be confused by shifts and motion and they have played a tougher pre-season. At a visceral level, the Seahawks are the tough-guys in the match-up as well. Bad day ahead for Troy.
GI's Pick: Seaquam by 24
Mark Isfeld @ G.P. Vanier: The Comox Valley Civil War. Vanier has dominated this series over the years. Little bro Isfeld has a pretty talented squad and the athletic differential is not as marked as in years past. 2010 is the year for the Ice.
GI's Pick: Isfeld by 3
Belmont @ Edward Milne: Belmont is much better than what last week's score would indicate. They have also gotten two games against good competition under their belt. Time to take it out on the crew that resides down the western road.
GI's Pick: Belmont by 20
Robert Bateman @ Howe Sound: Bateman has one of the top 3 running backs at any level of play in BC. He is learning to play football and his supporting cast is developing around him. Howe Sound will get run over like poorly armed infantry in front of a batallion of Abrams tanks. Long day on the coast for the Sounders.