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
GI's Pick: Mission by 1