Friday, 10 September
Timberline (Tier2) @ Langley: Last year's Tier 2 champions square off against a Langley squad that is one year from AAA play. Timberline is a different squad this year than it was 10 short months ago. Langley is looking for a strong year in AA now that the program has reached a degree of maturity. GI thinks Timberline is going to have a bad case of travel legs prior to being outmatched athlete for athlete. The difference maker however, will be Timberline's finesse game. If the Wolves can protect their quarterback, this will be a high scoring affair. That may be a lot to ask from a new offensive line.
GI's Pick: Langley by 21
Nanaimo District (Tier 2) at Robert Bateman (Tier 2): Tier 2 game of the week. Bateman has a game in the bag after crushing a hapless College Heights squad this past Thursday. There is certainly some newfound confidence to go along with the enthusiasm of a 1-0 brand new program. Nanaimo District is a veteren crew with lots of team speed however and if they keep turnovers to a minimum, they are GI's pick to win this tilt.
GI's Pick: Nanaimo District by 6
Holy Cross (AAA) @ Mission: This game is going to be a bit of a "canary in the coalmine" event for AAA Holy Cross. The Crusaders made a last second pitch to join AA varsity play at the AGM in January, but did not have their I's dotted and T's crossed. Mission is certainly AA elite in terms of program strength and this game will tell us all a whole bunch as to tier competitiveness and the long-term prospects of the Holy Cross program. Mission has a deeper bench and more athletes. Coaching is equal.
GI's Pick: Mission by 16
Rutland (AAA) @ Hugh Boyd: This contest will be very evently matched and the coaches who scheduled it have both made good choices. Rutland is a very big school and the athletes that step on to the field will reflect the building's draw. Hugh Boyd will step on to the turf with a squad that is reflective of the coaching continuity and solid program foundation of the Richmond perennial. Look for a very close game in the first half followed by some third and fourth quarter Trojan fireworks.
GI's Pick: Hugh Boyd by 8
Pinetree @ Rick Hansen: Pinetree picked a mighty tough year to enter AA ball and "rebuild" the program. Rick Hansen though it has graduated many fine players from last year's squad, has a lot of program momentum and coaching continuity use as a foundation for this year's campaign. The Hurricanes will play solid defense this Friday and be opportunistic with the big pass as it comes available. Hansen has a game under its belt already and will have a lot of kinks out of the system by kick-off. Pinetree is walking into a tough one.
GI's Pick: Rick Hansen by 18
South Kamloops AAA @ Valleyview: The Titans are the top dog in the city of Kamloops. Too many athletes, too much size and too much speed for the Vikings to handle out of the gates. A good opportunity for Valleyview to bring its best game and play up. For the Titans, lots of opportunities to get the roster some experience.
GI's Pick: South Kamloops by 34
Ballenas @ Belmont (Tier 2): The spring game between these two squads was fairly close. This game is either going to be a Ballenas blowout or a very tight affair that could go either way. What will be the deciding factor? Quite simply, does Belmont have the patience and tenacity to play power football. They surely have the roster for such a style of play. Teams that try to play cat and mouse with Ballenas and win by finesse are going to have long, long days on the field.
GI's Pick: Ballenas by 28
Sands @ Pitt Meadows: These teams know each other pretty well from last year's conference battle and there will be an edge to this game. This game will also represent a clash between two offensive styles of play. Pitt likes to air the ball out and Sands likes to hammer its foes with power running. If Pitt can find some offense via the air, this one will be close. Sands will not have the biggest bench and if they get in a full out track-meet, how much gas will be in the tank. It is early in the season though and just how good is the Pitt air-assault really going to be?
GI's Pick: Sands by 16
Saturday, September 11th
Okanagen Mission @ John Barsby: This game has become a neat little rivalry over the past three years with OKM winning in 2007 and Barsby winning in 2008. There is a pattern to these results beyond the split...the home team has won on each occasion. This said, look for a solid outing from the visiting Huskies! Barsby has one game under its belt thus far and the improvement from week one to week two is usually a big one in such cases. OKM will be in tough inside "The Cage" in south Nanaimo.
GI's Pick: Barsby by 14
Windsor @ Mt. Douglas (AAA): Both of these teams are coming off of dominant victories south of the border. This is also a re-match of last year's BC Championship game! Windsor returns all but one of its starters from that game while the Rams have reloaded with a great crew of battle hardened JV's from the 2009 squad. Look for a lot of difficulty moving the ball inside the Windsor defense and for the Mt. Douglas defensive line to be taken to the matt. Windsor does not make a lot of mistakes and this will always keep games close. What will break the deadlock however is Mt. Douglas's big play ability. I just do not think that Windsor wins the speed match-ups.
GI's Pick: Mt. Douglas by 21
Handsworth @ Carson Graham (AAA): The Royals are notorious slow starters and have been getting whacked pretty regularly in the Buchannan Bowl. This said, Handsworth is fielding its best varsity squad since 2007 and I think they know it. The level of play will be up for certain. Carson has been spinning their tires of late (the past 7-9 years) and Dome celebrations are all but a distant memory. Look for a close game most of the way with Handsworth pulling off a minor upset.
GI's Pick: Handsworth by 4
Kelowna (AAA) @ Clarence Fulton: The Maroons have one of their better than average squads this year but so does Kelowna! The Owls are playing ball at a level they have not previously experienced as a program and it is quite simply going to be a long, tough day for Fulton. The first quarter will be particularly tough on the Maroons as Kelowna has a game under their belt already and the home squad has to be carefull of a blowout score by half-time.
GI's Pick: Kelowna by 40
Seaquam @ Cedar Park Washington: Kudos to coach Pechet for scheduling this game. Seaquam will get better for playing it and gain a measure of toughness as well. Cedar park is not overly big in terms of catchment so this will be a very winnable game for the Seahawks.
GI's Pick: Seaquam by 6
Mark Isfeld (Tier 2)@ Howe Sound (Tier 2): Gotta give this one to the up and coming Sounders. Isfeld has a long travel day and will be matched athlete for athlete come gameday. In Isfeld's favor is the fact that they played a solid spring jamboree and will have the benefit of that experience headed into the contest. This is Howe Sounds first action for 2010.
GI's Pick: Howe Sound by a shakey 6
G.P. Vanier (Tier 2) @ Frank Hurt (Tier 2): The Towhees of Vanier have an overwhelmingly athletic and monster sized roster. If they stick to hardcore power ball, this contest will be lopsided right out of the gates. Frank Hurt will throw a lot, some big plays are in the offing if Vanier gets caught out-formationed.
GI's Pick: Vanier by 24