GI's AA Top Five
3. John Barsby
5. Seaquam/South Delta
GI's Tier 2 Top Five
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.
GI's Pick: Timberline by 12