Sunday, November 20, 2011

Playoff's Round Three

AA Varsity BC Semi-Final Games

John Barsby vs Vernon:  Kudos to the Panthers on their victory and their Semi-Final appearance!  Well done guys!  John Barsby struggled finding any kind of offensive consistency during the first half of their quarter-final game vs Abbottsford last weekend.   They did improve in the second half which has to be a somewhat gratifying.   As the games get only bigger, this has to be corrected if the Dawgs are to advance.  Vernon is getting it done in all of their big games thus far in 2011.  The speed of the Barsby defense is going to present some problems for the Panthers to overcome.  These teams have met in the playoffs twice before (1999 and 2004) with the Dawgs coming out on top.  All things considered, Barsby has the depth to win a third time.

Gridiron's Pick: Barsby by 16

Mission vs Ballenas: Mission has yet to be seriously tested by BC AA varsity competition in 2011.  Is Ballenas the team to get it done?  I think the first quarter of the Ballenas-Holy Cross game is a preview of how things will go.  The Crusaders ran unbalanced, power football at the Whalers and gashed em hard for the first quarter and a half of the game.  Mission quite simply wins all of the match-ups up front and they have better running backs than HC did.  The Whalers have a chance in this one only with a lot, and I mean a lot of turnovers going in their favour.  High school football is a funny game however, and you can never count out a prohibitive underdog playing the game of their lives at exactly the right moment in time.  

Gridiron's Pick: Mission by 18

Tier 2 Varsity BC Championship Final "The Ackles Cup"

Nanaimo District vs Howe Sound: These two teams met several weeks ago in a game that turned-out to be the biggest test of the year for the Islanders.  Gang Green had to recover from a 12-0 deficit to propel themselves past the hard-nosed Sounders on Nanaimo home turf.  Now the Island squad has to travel to play their most dangerous foe for all the marbles this coming weekend.  Both of these squads run similar offenses and play the game with a physical edge.  I don't think that Nanaimo is going to get surprised this time around and I believe they have a better kicking game as well.

Gridiron's Pick: Nanaimo District by 11

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gridiron's Playoff Picks: Round Two

Gridiron's AA Varsity Top Five

1. Mission
2. John Barsby
3. Ballenas
4. Abbottsford Collegiate
5. South Delta

Gridiron's Tier 2 Varsity Top Five

1. Nanaimo District
2. Belmont
3. Timberline
4. Howe Sound
5. G.P. Vanier/Edward Milne

Gridiron's Picks

AA Varsity BC Quarter-Final Picks

John Barsby vs Abbottsford Collegiate:  The Panthers are coming off of a huge win and program milestone vs the Handsworth Royals this past Saturday.  This team has pride and tons of momentum coming up against Nanaimo's John Barsby Bulldogs.  The Panthers have been putting a lot of points on the board and their passing game is a threat to score on every snap.  Defensivley, these guys are tough as well.  The John Barsby defense has not allowed a score since their week 6 game vs Handsworth.  This ought to be a good match-up between the two opposing units.  Look for the kicking game to play a big role in field position come gameday.  Whomever is on a short field will roll.

GI's Pick: Barsby by 18

Vernon vs Rick Hansen: Wow, who would have picked this match-up for the quarter-final game?  Vernon is coming off of a dramatic overtime victory and Rick Hansen, a shocking win over Seaquam. High school football baby, the games are played for a reason and you can never underestimate the capacity of a group of 16 and 17 year olds to catch fire and exceed all expectations. Hansen rolls into the game with a) more playoff experience; b) a more balanced offensive attack; c) a shorter trip to the game and d) a tougher league schedule behind them.  Vernon has a more athletic squad and has had a season of game winning performances.  They come in to the game with high expectations of themselves.  Kicking game will again in this match-up, be a potent force in terms of determining the outcome.

GI's Pick: History is going to be made this weekend with an Interior squad playing its way into the BC Semi-Final game for the first time in over a decade.  Vernon by 8

Ballenas vs Hugh Boyd: The Trojans have completed their season's turn-around and have won a string of close, late season games with a lot hinging on the outcome.  The Trojan defense has been very reluctant to give-up points keeping every game winnable for their offensive counterparts. The Whalers are having a fine season of their own and are consistently scoring over 30 points a contest offensivley.  The special teams group for Ballenas is outstanding and the blue defenders are hard-hitting and opportunistic.  An early surge by Holy Cross last week faltered under the relentless Whaler offensive attack and by game's end, the game was clearly in hand.  I like the Whaler team speed in this one as the difference maker.  Boyd is going to have to get some turnover breaks and start on a very short field consistently to have a realistic shot at victory.

GI's Pick: Whalers by 14

Mission vs South Delta: Mission has clearly been an "order above" in terms of roster depth, size, speed and overall execution in 2011.  The Sundevils have been struggling with consistency throughout the year.  If the blue and gold can keep their emotions in check and execute their offense to a high degree, I see em making the game a bit closer than most expect it to be.  Mission has not been tested north of the 49th and will likely not be tested come game day.  These guys are quite frankly the complete package on both sides of the ball and they will absolutely Dominate the line of scrimmage.  The Mission receivers block exceptionally well in space as well and this means that SD is going to have fits stopping the run inside and out. 

GI's Pick: Mission by 36

Tier 2 Varsity BC Semi-Final Picks

Nanaimo District vs Timberline:  It is playoff time and sure enough, we have a Timberline-Nanaimo District tilt on our hands. Timberline is coming off of its most impressive victory of the year vs G.P. Vanier.  Nanaimo District is coming off of a bye.  The Wolves will be rolling on to the playing field with all the momentum on their side, a healthy roster and the feeling that all the pieces are coming together.  Nanaimo District found themselves reading their own press clippings early on in their last big tilt vs Howe Sound.  This led to a costly first quarter and a half and a hole to be climbed out of.  Athletically, both teams are evenly matched and I think the biggest factor may very well be the weather.  Running the football and hanging on to the dang thing are going to be equally important.  Nanaimo's kicking game is as good as it gets and field position will be crucial come gameday.  This game will be fun to watch!

GI's Pick: Nanaimo District by 7

Belmont vs Howe Sound: Belmont is surging late in the season and Howe Sound has been doing the same with the exception of a tough loss to Nanaimo District.  The Sounders have a long travel day headed into this tilt and have not fared overly well versus  spread offenses that are run with any degree of skill.  Belmont has seen double-wing twice this year and has played against it for half a decade previously.  No great surprises for them.  This game is going to come down to a) grit and b) composure.  Penalties will really hurt either squad as big plays are going to be few and far between in long distance situations come gameday.  Kicking and handling the bounces on Belmont's artificial turf surface will also be problematic.  Practice those short kicks both ways fellas!  This may very well be the closest game of the weekend.

GI's Pick: Belmont by 2

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gridiron's Playoff Picks Round 1

Gridiron's AA Varsity Top Five

1. Mission
2. John Barsby
3. Ballenas
4. Seaquam
5. Handsworth

Gridiron's Tier 2 Varsity Top Five

1. Nanaimo District
2. Howe Sound
3. Belmont
4. G.P. Vanier
5. Timbrline

GI's Playoff Picks




West 1 John Barsby vs. Interior 3 Clarence Fulton:  The Dawgs are loaded for bear and can run or pass with equal effectiveness.  The Dawg D has become exceptional over the course of the year.  Fulton is a bunch of tough-nut gamers who want the challenge and competition.  Kudos to this crew!

GI's Pick:  John Barsby by 21

East 2 Abbotsford vs. West 3 Handsworth:  This is going to be a very, very physical game.  Handsworth has all the playoff exprience here and ought to eke out a victory if they can get their counter game rolling.

 GI's Pick: Royals by 3

South 1 Seaquam vs. East 4 Rick Hansen: Seaquam's downhill running game and size up front will enable them to have a big day on the scoreboard against under-sized Rick Hansen.  The points will pile up, particularly in the second half.

GI's Pick: Seaquam by 24

Okanagan 1 Vernon vs. Northern 1 Nechako Valley:  The North is getting better each year.  They have not caught up to the Interior yet and this will be on display for the entire province.  Vernon is bigger and faster.  Good math to have on your side come game-day.

GI's Pick:  Vernon by 21


West 2 Ballenas vs. South 3 Holy Cross:  Love this match-up.  Can Ballenas stop the HC running game?  Can HC defend one of the three most balanced run-pass attacks in BC?  Special teams, wow, this is going to be big.

 GI's Pick: Ballenas by 10

South 2 Hugh Boyd vs. East 3 Robert Bateman:  These two squads played one another earlier this year.  A healthy Bateman won that game.  Weeks have passed and Boyd seems to be the team that has improved.  The Trojans have a positive history in big games as a staff as well.

 GI's Pick:  Hugh Boyd by 8


East 1 Mission vs. Northern 2 Duchess Park:  Great season Dutchess Park.  Way to go yellow and black!  It ends this weekend however.  Is there a match-up that is not hugely in Mission's favour?

 GI's Pick:  Mission by 50...conservatively.

Interior 2 Kalamalka vs. West 4 South Delta:  South Delta is simply bigger, stronger and more battle tested.  Kalmalka has a chance if they can get up early and win the turnover battle.  Tall order.

 GI's Pick: South Delta by 21

Tier 2 Varsity Playoffs

Side A 
#1 NDSS vs #4 Moscrop:
The Islanders will steamroll their opponents on their home field in front of a packed and enthusiastic house.  Moscrop can make a go of it if they get firing on offense and get a couple timely turnovers.  Big "Ifs".
GI's Pick: Nanaimo District by 34
#2 Timberline vs #3 Vanier:

Perhaps the game of the Tier 2 week.  Timberline has a more dynamic offense, but Vanier has perhaps the best back in the league.  Home field goes to the Wolves.  So this one is going to be about defense and the kicking-game.

GI's Pick: Timberline by 2

Side B

#1 Belmont vs #4 EJ Milne:

Milne plays Belmont tough every time.  I think the Wolverines are a bit banged-up heading into this one and Belmont is playing some darn good ball at this point in the season.  The Bulldogs ought to stop the run here and then it becomes a very one dimensional game for Milne.  Not good.

GI's Pick: Belmont by 18

#2 Howe Sound vs #3 Frank Hurt: 

Frank Hurt cannot play the physical game that is going to be required to tangle with the Sounders.  Look for big second half scores for HS.  Hurt, champs no more.

GI's Pick: Howe Sound by 31

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

GI's Picks Week Nine

Week 9 2011

Well, here we are folks at the end of the regular season of play.  Sure did go by quick!  This weekend sees multiple games that will determine first and second place seeding into the playoff tourney.  For some seniors, this will be the last game of HS football.  Make it your best fellas!

GI's Week Nine AA Varsity Top Five

1. Mission
2. John Barsby
3. Ballenas
4. Abbottsford Collegiate
5. Holy Cross

GI's Week 9 Tier 2 Varsity Top Five

1.  Nanaimo District
2.  Howe Sound
3.  Belmont
4.  G.P. Vanier
5.  Edward Milne

Gridiron's Picks

Thursday, 3 November

Hugh Boyd @ Handsworth:  Hugh Boyd and Handsworth are playing their best football of the year right now.  Both Squads are coming off of big, emotional wins and though this game is exhibition, it will speak a lot to momentum headed into the post-season.  Handsworth wins this match-up in the passing game, Boyd on the ground.  The weather man may be a prominent figure headed into Thursday.    Defensively, this is a toss-up.  Special teams are going to have a big say overall.

GI's Pick: Handsworth by 2

Friday, 4 November, 2011

Abbottsford Collegiate @ Mission: Divisional title on the line.  In a short period of time, Abbey has come to rule the local roost in their town and now they are travelling to play The King of the Fraser Valley in the Mission Roadrunners.  Abbey is very hard hitting and they have been improving week-to-week all year long.  Mission has not broken a sweat against any AA competition this year.  Abbey may make em sweat a bit, but not for long.  Mission has too many offensive weapons and will clearly and effectively dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. 

GI's Pick: Mission by 36

Ballenas @ Windsor:  The Whalers are rolling into North Vancouver coming off of a bye and in playoff form.  Windsor is going to play tough for awhile, but cannot run with the Whaler receiving corps.  This one does not come down to coaching as both squads are very well tutored, but rather it comes down to roster maturity and the Whalers hold a decisive edge in that category.

GI's Pick: Whalers by 16

Rick Hansen @ Robert Bateman: A few weeks back I'd say Bateman in a landslide.  Consecutive physical maulings of the Wolves by Abbottsford and Mission have brought the once surging Bateman squad crashing back to earth.  Rick Hansen has a real shot to take this one as the Bateman offense is basically starting from scratch with injuries and illness having taken a toll.  Rick Hansen will execute better on offense as a result and a sound defensive effort may give em the margin to steal this one/

GI's Pick: Hansen by 2

Nanaimo District (Tier 2) @ Frank Hurt (Tier 2):  Frank Hurt has put up some sereious points in a few of their games this year.  Nanaimo District up until last weekend has been flat-out dominant.  These two squads played a close game in Nanaimo last September with the Hornets eventually emerging triumphant; now the Islanders are on the road with some payback on their minds.  I think the Islanders have demonstrated themselves to be better in all three phases of the game this year.  I also think they play a way more physical brand of ball. 

GI's Pick: Islanders by 31

Eric Hamber (Tier 2) @ Moscrop (Tier 2): Moscrop, when its players and coaches feel confident about their opponent, can really score points in a hurry.  They are entering this game feeling brash and good about who they will be matching up against.  Hamber is still on a big learning curve.

GI's Pick: Panthers by ground and air win by 30

Belmont (Tier 2) @ Mark Isfeld (Tier 2): If Isfeld can get the bodies to play this weekend, they will have a tough game ahead of them.  Belmont is on a win streak and getting healthier with each passing day.

GI's Pick: Belmont by 30 plus.

Saturday, 5 November

Clarence Fulton @ Kalmalka:  Game for divisional title.  Fulton has been on a tear late in the season.  A young but fast Kalmalka found a way to win last weekend.  I think Fulton is more complete on both sides of the ball.

GI's Pick: Fulton by 8

Norkam @ Mt. Baker:  This is a good way for Norkam to wrap-up its season.  Mt. Baker gets to finish at home which is also good for them.  Norkam is quite simply, further along as a program and group of athletes.

GI's Pick: Norkam by 27

Langley @ Seaquam:  Seaquam has clearly been the better team this year if one looks at wins and losses vs common opponents.  In a smallish division, this counts for very little as a Langley victory would tip the whole division on its ear.  If Langley can get all over Seaquam's running game and put a couple scores on the board, they may have a shot this Saturday.  High school athletes are full of surprises and there is a reason we play these games.

GI's Pick: Seaquam by 22

John Barsby @ South Delta: Both teams have a stake in a positive outcome in this game for entirely different reasons.  A South Delta win would bring a tie breaking pts. for and against formula to the Western 3 and 4 playoff berth.  Interesting indeed.  Barsby, well, they want to play this one as hard as any this season.  It ought to be a good game to watch.  South Delta has been very balanced offensivley this year and they are trick play masters.  Barsby likewise, has had a balanced attack from a different offensive set entirely.  Defensively, both squads have superb run pursuit and I really like the SD cover schemes.   The Sundevils are tough at home and would love to add this big notch to their belts.

GI's Pick: Barsby by a close 10

Okanagen Mission @ Vernon:  Huge game for Vernon with a 1st place seed on the line.  Likewise for OKM, an upset would propel them to a 4th place finish divisionally and the satisfaction that they derailed a divisional heavyweight.  I don't think the Panthers are going to let it happen though.  Too big, too fast, too many players for their opponents.

GI's Pick: Vernon by 16

Valleyview @ South Kamloops:  Perhaps the hottest team in the Interior, SKS can only wonder what may have been this year if they had been able to roll in September.  The Titans will finish strong in this local rivalry game and will hang-up their hats with another W under their belts.

GI's Pick: Titans by 16

Gulf Islands @ G.P. Vanier:  The Saltspring scrappers are travelling North to tangle with a goliath school in Vanier.  They all oughta get medals of valor for making the trip.  We need B-8 or 9 in this province.  I volunteer to help set it up.

GI's Pick: Vanier by double digits

Timberline @ Edward Milne:  This could go either way, especially if Timberline trys to get "style points" on offense.  Ugly touchdowns are worth just as much as pretty ones guys.  This game has become a bit of a rivalry and I believe the 2011 edition will be no exception.  Timberline rolls in with a deeper bench and a size advantage.  Milne is at home and will be giving no quarter themselves.  I think if the Wolverines are patient offensively and get some big heat on the Timberline QB they are in this one.  Conversely, if the Timberline bench doesn't roll in more jacked than their players, they will do just fine.  Kinda wish I could watch this one. 

GI's Pick:  Timberline by 8

Howe Sound @ Argyle:  Kudos to Howe Sound last weekend rolling into Nanaimo and giving the Islanders all that they could handle.  Shorter trip this time and the opponent did not fare so well last time they stood in front of a Double-Wing.

GI's Pick: Sounders by 38

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gridiron's Picks Week 8

Gridiron's Week 8 AA Varsity Top Five

1.  Mission
2.  John Barsby
3.  Seaquam
4.  Ballenas
5.  Abbottsford Collegiate

Gridiron's Week 8 Tier 2 Varsity Top Five

1.  Nanaimo District
2.  Howe Sound
3.  Belmont
4.  Edward Milne
5.  Timberline

Thursday, 27 October

Moscrop (Tier 2) @ Argyle (Tier 2):

Friday, 28 October, 2011

Mt. Baker @ Vernon:  Got to give this one to the Panthers coming angry off of a tough loss to South Kamloops.  Beyond sheer emotion and the will to rebound, Vernon has more veteren depth than their Mt. Baker foes.

GI's Pick: Vernon by 38

Windsor @ John Barsby:  Windsor is executing as good as anyone in the league.  Barsby, a more mature team in terms of depth and veteren roster had better not take the Dukes for granted come Friday.  Look for a big effort on behalf of the Dukes to slow down the chainsaw Dawg offense.  "The Box" is going to be a very crowded piece of real-estate for this tilt.  Windsor will also go to the air early and often on offense.  Turnovers and an opportunistic kicking game could not be bigger for the Dukes.  Barsby has to play smart ball on every down to take care of its week 8 business.

GI's Pick: Barsby by 18

South Delta @ Handsworth:  Huge game for both teams in terms of playoff seeding coming out of divisional play in a couple weeks.  South Delta had a big team performance vs Windsor last week and Handsworth though they came up short, mounted a furious near comeback from a 21 pt. deficit vs Ballenas.  The Royals always play South Delta very good and they are on home turf to boot.  South Delta however, is a very complete team and they match-up very well across the board athletically with their North Van. foes.  Look for the squad who can move the ball on the ground to prevail in this contest.

GI's Pick: South Delta by 10

South Kamloops @ Okanagen Mission: South Kamloops is making a late season run at the divisional title and OKM is their next obstacle to overcome.  Momentum is a big factor here and the Titans have a lot of it.

GI's Pick: Titans by 12

Seaquam @ Hugh Boyd: The East division is proving to be a rough one for prognosticators in 2011.  Hugh Boyd is at the headwaters of this cascade of uncertainty as one never really knows which group of Trojans will show up to play on a give Friday afternoon.  One thing is for certain, when these guys are "on" they can play ball with pretty much anyone.  Seaquam plays for keeps in the big games and if they get their big back running downhill the men of Troy are in trouble. 

GI's Pick: Seaquam by 17

Mission @ Robert Bateman:  Bateman has wound-up playing its two toughest divisional games in a four day span.  This is often a very good thing when you emerge from the 1st relatively healthy.  There is not a whole lot to insert and bango, you pick-up where you left off.  I have been anxiously awaiting this tilt since the day the schedule came out for 2011.  Mission is the big dog in the Valley and the one of the squads that really looks to be able to unseat them any time soon is Bateman.  The JV's are neck and neck and the Varsity aren't far off of the mark.  All year long, the Mission defense has been very impressive.  Bateman isn't going to do anything offensively but come right after em.  This is goign to be an honest game.  One side or the other is going to break in the second half.  Offensively, Mission has to be able to finesse the ball to compliment their powerful running game.  If Bateman cannot cover the pass, doom awaits them.  If they can can turn this into a slugging match, they have a chance. The weather report calls for rain...

GI's Pick:  Mission by 21

Abbottsford Collegiate @ Pitt Meadows:  Abbey is flat-out tougher on defense than their hosts this weekend.  The Panther offense is a reflection of their defensive demeanor.  The "tough" math does not add up very well for Pitt.  One thing the Marauders do have going for them is that Abbey is playing this game a very short four days after a physical contest vs Bateman. The momentum of the Panther's big win over rival Bateman should stand them in good stead!

GI's Pick:  Abbey by 23

Holy Cross @ Rick Hansen:  I like this match-up a lot.  The Hurricanes showed up to play some very solid football last week vs Pitt and they have that to build on as they host HC.  The Crusaders took it on the chin vs divisional top dog Seaquam and are looking to regain some of the swagger they had entering that tilt.  The match-ups are very equal between these groups with an edge going to the HC offensive line and smashmouth running game.

GI's Pick:  Crusaders by 8

Saturday, 29 October

Valleyview @ Kalamalka:  Kalmalka rolls into this one with the better team speed.  All other things even, the Lakers should take this one.

GI's Pick:  Lakers by 10

Gulf Islands (Tier 2) @ Belmont (Tier 2): Belmont is getting healthy and has won consecutive big games.  Gulf Islands is far better suited roster wise to 9 man football where they would be fearsome.  Belmont matches up very well in every phase of the game.  They are on home turf as well.

GI's Pick:  Belmont by 36

Howe Sound (Tier 2) @ Nanaimo District (Tier 2):  Here it is folks, the game that decides first place coming off of the mainland division in Tier 2.  Nanaimo district has been essentially mercy ruling teams by half-time all year and now they may have a game on their hands, if not a legitimate challenge. Howe Sound has been playing solid ball and has really earned some respect around the league.  Nanaimo District has been Moby Dick in the Tier 2 Goldfish Bowl.  This game will be physical and possibly close at first, but then the Islanders will sniff out weakness and pounce. Both teams run the double-wing, Nanaimo District knows how to run the double-wing.  The Islander Defense aka Gang-Green is a wrecking crew as well.  In the end, the debris field that was once the Sounders will be scattered from end-zone to parking lot.

GI's Pick: Islanders by 38

Edward Milne (Tier 2) @ GP Vanier (Tier 2):  This could very well be the closest game played at any level during the weekend.  Both of these teams are playing their best ball of the season and they have played common opponents with very similar outcomes.  Vanier has a definitive edge in size and overall team speed.  Milne does a better job of identifying and exploiting opponent defensive flaws.  What could emerge here is a barnburner on the scoreboard that resolves itself in the last minutes of the game.  One thing in Vanier's favor and I believe the tipping point, the Towhees are at home.

GI's Pick: Towhees by 6

Eric Hamber (Tier 2) @ Frank Hurt (Tier 2):  The Hornets will throw and counter their way to victory in front of their home crowd this Saturday.  Hamber has gotten better this year for sure, but still a ways to go fellas.

GI's Pick: Hornets by 11

Timberline (Tier 2) @ Mark Isfeld (Tier 2):  Timberline got an abrubt reality check vs a surging Belmont crew at home last weekend.  Now the Wolves are on the road and looking to feast.  Isfeld is going to be outmatched by Timberlines offensive assault and the Ice just don't seem to have the game breakers offensively to match their guests score for score across four quarters.

GI's Pick: Wolves by 22

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gridiron's Week Seven Picks

Week Seven

Dawgs, Roadrunners, Whalers SeaHawks, Wolves continue to roll!

GI's AA Varsity Top Five

1.  Mission
2.  John Barsby
3.  Seaquam
4.  Robert Bateman
5.  Ballenas

GI's Tier 2 Varsity Top Five

1.  Nanaimo District
2.  Timberline
3.  Howe Sound
4.  Belmont
5.  Edward Milne

GI's Week Seven Picks

Friday, 21 October

Pitt Meadows @ Rick Hansen: This is a playoff game for both teams.  Pitt has been playing very tough competition of late and their game has to be on the elevated side assuming they are healthy.  Hansen is quickly coming to the realization that Abbey and Bateman are now mature programs who are forcefully asserting their place in the Valley pecking order.  This game is pivotal for reasons that extend past playoff viability.  I think the Hansen crew will be very well prepared for this tilt and they can run the ball better.  Team speed to Pitt.

GI's Pick: Hurricanes by 1

Handsworth @ Ballenas: The Whalers are coming off of consecutive big games and are playing very good football at this juncture of the season.  The Royals are playing some very tough ball of their own as well.  I like the Handsworth defensive line vs the Whaler offensive line but the Whalers match-up way better in the secondary and perimeter.  The key to this contest will be whether or not the Whalers can make short work of the Royal rushing attack.  If they accomplish this, I like em to win.  Kicking game could not be bigger.  There are some great opportunities for Ballenas here as well.

GI's Pick: Whalers by 14

Hugh Boyd @ Langley: This is a perfect game for the Trojans to rebound from last weekend's heartbreak. Boyd can run the ball and Langley just doesn't have the jam to do anything about it.  Look for a big score.

GI's Pick: Trojans by 24

Robert Bateman @ Abbottsford Collegiate: Best game of the week right here.  Bateman is making huge waves and a big win for them will create a Tsunami of interest headed into their game vs Mission on the 28th.  These programs are on the rise and the collission is going to be very physical.  I like Bateman in this game because of their offensive simplicity.  They do what they do and are relentless in their approach.  There are a few more "explosive" athletes in the black and green uniforms as well.  It will be a very tough game, but the outcome will never be in doubt.

GI's Pick: Bateman by 16

Clarence Fulton @ Okanagen Mission: Two squads headed in the right direction at mid-season.  I like Fulton as their schedule has been more challenging to date.  The Maroons are going to run the ball better and that is the key to Interior success year in and year out.

GI's Pick: Maroons by 8

Vernon @ South Kamloops: Vernon has emerged as the class of the Interior in 2011.  The Panthers have all the offensive and defensive tools to dominate this contest.  SKS is above middle in the mix this year but not top rail.

GI's Pick: Vernon by 16

Edward Milne (Tier 2) @ Gulf Islands (Tier 2): Milne is a solid all around squad with plenty of depth.  The Milne roster is also hardened by a full season of play.  Gulf Islands is scrappy, but they have all the chance of winning this one as a sunfish does of snapping 15 lb test line.

GI's Pick: Milne by 26

Nanaimo District (Tier 2) @ Eric Hamber (Tier 2): Congrats Hamber on your victory this past weekend.  Bring plenty of ice to this game.  Nanaimo District is a juggernaut in 2011 and is playing for keeps.  A Hamber score can be considered wild success.  The home team will not be celebrating much at game's end.

GI's Pick: Nanaimo District by 46

G.P. Vanier (Tier 2) @ Mark Isfeld (Tier 2): The Comox Valley Civil War.  This has been a one sided affair over the years with Vanier having their way with little bro Isfeld.  I think the Towhees are more than hungry for a W coming off of consecutive narrow losses to divisional opponents.  If Isfeld is healthy they can keep things close for awhile.

GI's Pick: G.P. Vanier by 30

Saturday, 22 October

Mt. Baker @ Valleyview:  Valleyview gets in the win column with this one.  The Vikings are simply better at every facet of the game in this match-up.

GI's Pick: Valleyview by 24

Windsor @ South Delta:  This game will be one of the most interesting first halves of the weekend.  Windsor is executing as good as anyone in the province at any level of play right now.  Problem for them is that they are using .22 calibre ammo and their opponents are showing up with the .50 variety.  The Dukes are playing great football, they are just outgunned when it comes to some key athletic match-ups.  South Delta has a very impressive defensive line and linebacking crew.  Their cover one is very tight.  Offensively the Sundevils trap very well and do a great job protecting the passer from multiple spread looks.  Windsor's defense plays solid zone and they fly to the football.  I think that the running game will be all important on Saturday.

GI's Pick: Upset alert...Windsor by 1

Holy Cross @ Seaquam: HC is on a win streak and has been making hay with their running game.  Week to week these guys have surely gotten better.  Seaquam loves to rumble inside the box.  These guys are tough and "old school" when it comes to their playing mentality.  Both defenses are a reflection of their offenses.  Seaquam can pass a bit better than their foes this Saturday.  Their defense can cover the pass better too.

GI's Pick: Seaquam by 12

Mission @ Lakeside (WA):  I took a good look at the Lakeside Lions and I think they bit off way more than they can chew by scheduling Mission.  The Roadrunners are bigger and faster.  They also have a skill set to match their impressive physicality.

GI's Pick: Mission by 17

Argyle (Tier 2) @ Frank Hurt (Tier 2): Frank Hurt has shown signs of life this season.  Argyle is going through new team blues so to speak.  Argyle has better athletes than Hurt.  Hurt has better football players.

GI's Pick: Hornets by 17

Moscrop (Tier 2) @ Howe Sound (Tier 2): Two double-wing teams in a row for Moscrop.  Ever seen one of those racoons who didn't get across the highway fast enough?  Ever seen one of those same racoons that has been run over for half a week?  You get the picture of what things will look like Sunday morning.

GI's Pick:  Howe Sound by 23

Belmont (Tier 2) @ Timberline (Tier 2): This is the game for first place in the Island division.  These two squads have played epic contests in years past and Saturday's tilt will be no different.  The Wolves will show up to the dance with the more balanced offense, but Belmont plays a better brand of D.  If the Bulldogs are healthy this is going to be a classic.  Timberline is at home and this could be the difference all things considered.

GI's Pick: Timberline by 2

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gridiron's Week 6 Picks

Happy Thanksgiving All!

GI's AA Varsity Top Five

1. Mission
2. John Barsby
3. Handsworth
4. Ballenas
5. Robert Bateman

GI's Tier 2 Varsity Top Five

1. Nanaimo District
2. Timberline
3. EJ Milne
4. Howe Sound
5. Belmont

GI's Week 6 Picks

Thursday, 13 October

Correlieu @ College Heights:  College Heights has been playing better football than the Clansmen of Quesnel.  Look for the Cougars to put together a stubborn defensive performance and grind away on the ground en route to victory this Thursday.

GI's Pick:  College Heights by 18

Friday, 14 October

Rick Hansen @ Mission: Mission, traditionally known for its prolific and entertaining offense is making a huge defensive statement this year.  There is no reason why they cannot blank middleweight and erstwhile divisional foe Rick Hansen on Friday afternoon.  Hansen is totally outgunned in this one and will seek to find some small victories to carry forward into the rest of the season.

GI's Pick:  Mission by 38

Abbottsford Collegiate @ Langley:  Langeley is in for a tough one in this exhibition tilt vs the surging Panthers.  Abbottsford is positioning itself to challenge for the second seed out of their division.  This is another momentum building game for the red and black.

GI's Pick: Abbey by 24

John Barsby @ Handsworth: Anyone smell an ambush?  Handsworth usually plays their games on the artificial turf at a local field.  This game is on campus at 2 PM.  Perfect timing and location for a rematch against last year's Subway Bowl opponent John Barsby.  This game comes down to defense plain and simple.  Both squads can move the ball very effectively and a tight game on the scoreboard and some great special teams will likely be the tale of the tape.  Home dirt is surely in favor of the Royals.  Barsby is on a roll.

GI's Pick:  Barsby by 10

Prince George @ Kelly Road:  The Polars and Roadrunners, the two biggest schools in the district lock horns this weekend in a game that may very well decide the number 3 seed in the playoffs.   Kelley Road has been coming on strong as of late and I think they will win a squeaker.

GI's Pick:  Roadrunners by 2

Dutchess Park @ Nechako Valley:  Red hot Dutchess Park is going to have to work for every point they can get on the board versus the division leading Vikings.  The Condors have a very balanced attack and are playing great defense.  This is the third game for them in two weeks and health could factor.  If the Condors enter the game healthy I like em because they have been playing tougher competition of late and their game will reflect that pace from the outset.

GI's Pick: Condors by 3

Robert Bateman @ Pitt Meadows:  Bateman is healthy and is on a roll.  Pitt Meadows had better spend a lot of time working on run defense headed into this game.  If the Marauders can get eight in the box and lock-up successfully in man coverage they may have a shot.  Hec, nine in the box-Cover 2 isn't a bad idea either.  Bateman has not proved to anyone that they can throw the ball consistently.  They havn't had to do so either.  You know what, maybe a gentlemen's agreement to completely suspend Batemen's passing game for the contest is in order.  Eleven in the box it is.  Still won't work.

GI's Pick:  Bateman by 30

Mark Isfeld (Tier 2) @ Gulf Islands (Tier 2):  Gulf Islands will post their first victory of the season on Friday vs the Ice.  These guys are scrappers and they have some edge speed their opponents lack.

GI's Pick: Gulf Islands by 14

Edward Milne (Tier 2) @ Belmont (Tier 2):  Now here is a bit of a rivalry game on the South Island.  Milne has always been Belmont's pesky little brother on the field.  I think lil bro has grown up this year.  I like the balanced Milne attack and their team discipline in this game.  I am not convinced Belmont has recovered from their week two and three games up Island.

GI's Pick: Milne by 10

Mocrop (Tier 2) @ Nanaimo (Tier 2):  Moscrop has proven they can score points by the bushell in games where their squad's talent pool is evenly matched.  Nanaimo District is big, nasty and has the complete package this year.  Defensively they love to brawl with opponents, their kicking game is fantastic and their offense has not faltered all year.  Moscrop is going to find out how tough they are or are not on Friday.

GI's Pick:  Nanaimo District AKA Mean Green by 36

Argyle (Tier 2) @ Eric Hamber (Tier 2):  Hey Pipers, get ready to celebrate Friday Night.  You have more size, speed and talent at every position.  Put it all together and you will mark a historic win for yourselves.

GI's Pick:  Argyle by 28

Saturday, 15 October

Okanagen Mission @ Mt. Baker:  Long trip for the Huskies.  Long trip, and a quality road win.

GI's Pick: OKM by 34

Vernon @ Kalmalka:  One of the best games of the weekend will be played here.  The Panthers will need to be very efficient on offense and will have to create some turnovers defensively to steal this one away from the Lakers who have a faster roster.  This comes down to kicking game and turnovers.

GI's Pick: Kalmalka by 4

South Delta @ Ballenas:  Both of these teams play some great offense and throw the ball exceptionally well.  Ballenas can run the ball quite effectively to compliment their passing game.  Only Mission boasts a similar combination to what the Whalers possess on offense.  South Delta's defensive line is pretty darn good and the Whaler's are going to be challenged mightily to block it up for the provinces top quarterback.  Special teams are certainly going to have a say as well on Saturday.

GI's Pick: Whalers by 6

Frank Hurt (Tier 2) @ Howe Sound (Tier 2):  Frank Hurt exploded for record points in an overtime victory this past weekend.  Howe Sound won't be as accomodating defensively as the Moscrop Panthers were.  The Howe Sound running game is starting to mature nicely and will present Frank Hurt with a real gut check in terms of defensive toughness.  The Hornets are not going to like what they find.
GI's Pick:  Howe Sound by 14

G.P. Vanier (Tier 2) @ Timberline (Tier 2):  A budding rivalry up on the North End  of the Island.  Timberline's offense has yet to face a serious defense to challenge its multi-faceted attack.  Vanier has proven it doesn't stand up well to anything but the most vanilla offensive assault.  The Wolves will give them a Baskin Robbins assortment of offensive flavors and tweaks.

GI's Pick:  Timberline by 26

Hugh Boyd @ Holy Cross:  There really is no such thing as divisional play in The South this year but rather a bit of a seeding tournament for the playoff dance.  The Trojans have had a real see-saw season to date playing great ball and then surrendering games that seemingly should have been closer or even winnable at first glance.  Well, this one is for real and it counts big time.  The Trojans always prepare exceptionally well for big games and this will be no different.  HC has found its offensive feet as well and are on a bit of a roll.  This one will be very close.
GI's Pick: Hugh Boyd by 2

South Kamloops @ Clarence Fulton:  SKS, the football version of Lazarus travels to play the Maroons.  Fulton is getting better and I have my doubts as to the ability of the Titans to knock off traditional Interior powers this year.
GI's Pick:  Fulton by 11

Windsor @ Seaquam: Windsor is playing very, very good football considering it is rolling with a mixed JV/Varsity roster.  The Dukes are executing in all phases of their game and the defense is really hustling to the ball on every play.  Seaquam may enter this game without their star running back Lego.  The absence of the punishing back may have been a contributor to the narrow loss against South Delta this past weekend.  In any event, with our without their big back, Seaquam has a big, physical and importantly, mature roster that will host the Dukes on home dirt.  Unless there is an obscene amount of turnovers in the Dukes favor, this game goes to Seaquam who ought to be snowplowing their North Van guests up and down the field.

GI's Pick: Seaquam by 18 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

GI's Week Five Picks


In some respects, it has felt like one of the longest of Septembers in 2011.  October is now here and so is meaningfull league play to go with it!  Everything counts now and this month willl be the one where a lot of playoff fates are determined.  We begin with a bang with the 11th annual Border Battle on The Island as the surging Ballenas Whalers pay a visit to arch-rival John Barsby.  Beyond this classic is going to be a slate of hard fought games each with big implications down the road.  Lets get it on!

A special note to this blog's readers:  This thing only gets better with your help.  GI needs photo's, game recaps, and you-tube video hi-lites.  E-mail me when you get yours up and it will get included.  The Border Battle is getting a lot of attention this week and we can do this for all the big games with your help.  Send in what you've got as it surely helps!!  Lets make the big time where we are!!
Week 4 Wrap-Up

Mission, Barsby, Seaquam, Bateman, Ballenas and Dutchess Park had big wins this past weekend and Vernon formally ended their little brother status with a historic victory over the much loathed Maroons of Fulton.  In Tier 2 Nanaimo District KO's their opponent scoring 42 pts and ending the game early in the second quarter while Timberline gave the scoreboard a stress test to remember vs the visiting Frank Hurt Hornets.  These two are on a collission course for the title game unless someone can get in their way.

AA Varsity Week Five Top Five
The Whalers Have Been Ripping It Up In 2011!

1.  Mission Roadrunners
2.  John Barsby Bulldogs
3.  Seaquam SeaHawks
4.  Handsworth Royals
5.  Ballenas Whalers

Tier 2 Varsity Week Five Top Five
Mean Green Lays The Smack-Down Friday Afternoon!

1.  Nanaimo District Islanders
2.  Timberline Wolves
3.  Howe Sound Sounders
4.  EJ Milne Wolverines
5.  Belmont Bulldogs

Timberline Juggernaut Kicks In To High Gear Saturday!

GI's Week Five Picks

Tuesday, 4 October

Dutchess Park @ PGSS:  Coming off of last this past weekend's upset of Nechako Valley the Condors now have the inside track to the top seed coming out of El Norte.  PGSS presents a hec of a big speed bump along the way but this crew is obviously on fire.  The Condors are playing solid defense and are opportunistic on the offensive side of the ball.  The gold and black will be a little too much for the big school up the road.

GI's Pick: Condors by 10

Friday, 7 October

Ballenas @ John Barsby:  The eleventh annual Border Battle will kick-off "In The Cage" at John Barsby Friday afternoon at 1:46 PM.  These arch rivals are playing great football right now with Ballenas being a failed 2pt. conversion vs AAA Centennial away from a perfect pre-season record.  The dynamic Whaler offense will run up against a Barsby defensive crew that has allowed eight points in four games.  This will be a true test for both units!  Defensively the Whalers have their hands full with the Dawg onslaught, but the Blue and Grey have a history of defending the Barsby Double Wing exceptionally well.  The kicking game is going to be absolutely huge and the Whalers can kick-off short or long with pin-point accuracy.  This game will be a classic that also will have immediate playoff ramifications.  Take nothing for granted here!!

GI's Pick:  Barsby by 6

Past Border Battle's

Whalers Win This One

Barsby Wins This One

Whalers Week 3 2011

Whalers Week 4

Barsby Week 2 2011

Border Battle 2011  It's Going To Be Epic!

Mark Isfeld (Tier 2) @ Edward Milne(Tier 2):  Both of these teams travelled to Nanaimo to play NDSS and Barsby respectively.  Milne survived intact, Isfeld did not.  Observing both games, it is clear that Milne has it together on both sides of the ball and has better athletes.  Nuff said.

GI's Pick: Milne by 34

Argyle (Tier 2) @ Nanaimo District (Tier 2):  Well Argyle, you are surely going to find out just how tough you guys are when you come a calling to the Mean Green this Friday.  Strap on your headgear because this one is going to be physical.  The Islanders are the complete package with perhaps the best kicking-game at any varsity level in BC.  This game will be played on a short field and the Islander offensive juggernaut will be chewing its way through the opposing defense early and often.  New team blues Argyle, new team blues.

GI's Pick: Islanders by 40

Frank Hurt (Tier 2) @ Moscrop(Tier 2):  Frank Hurt got totally shelled by Air-Wolf this past weekend and now travells a much shorter distance to play another pass oriented offense.  This game will be far closer than the Timberline affair and will be a real gut-check for the Hornets in terms of their ability to regroup and have a focused week of practice.  If not, they are on their last legs.  It's character time boys.

GI's Pick:  Moscrop by 17

G.P. Vanier (Tier 2)  @ Belmont(Tier 2):  This will be a close game and playoff seeding is definitely on the line here.  Belmont will enter the game having had a full two weeks to lick its wounds and refocus on the league play at hand.  Vanier has a huge itch to get a W for the program and some team confidence to go along with it.    Belmont can throw the ball quite well and the Towhees can pound it when they get in the groove.  This game is a tough one to call as it is tough to say if the Belmont crew will have its full roster at hand playing up to a good share of its potential.  I have to go with Belmont as I think they adjust better to what their opponent gives them on either side of the ball than does their foes.

GI's Pick:  Belmont by 6

Holy Cross @ Langley:  HC weathered the gauntlet of tough match-ups weeks 1-3 and was rewarded with a hard-fought victory against a tough Abbottsford squad.  This game will again emerge as a W for the Crusaders and by a much bigger point spread than last week.  This crew is getting better with each game played and will hang some big points up on the board as their offense gets in synch.  Langley is in tough in this one.

GI's Pick: Holy Cross by 24

Abbottsford Collegiate @ Rick Hansen: This will be a very good game to watch as these divisional rivals contest the inside track for one of the lower playoff seeds in the valley.  Both squads are coming off of losses this past weekend with Hansen by far playing the tougher opponent.  Look for the run game to be the decisive factor in this contest.  Abbey spreads it out and throws very well, Hansen is a lot more balanced and dynamic on offense.  I really like the physicality of the Panthers so this could boil down to who has legs in the late quarters.

GI's Pick: Hansen by 1

Handsworth @ Windsor:  Never mind the rosters, hec, the chess match between two of the all time AA coaching greats is going to be fun to watch.  All things equal, this game would be way too close to call, especially with each team coming off of two weeks preparation for the other.  All things this year are not equal however as Windsor rolls on the field with a blended JV/Varsity Crew and Handsworth a seasoned group of Varsity players.  Though he is very, very good, there just are not enough tricks and tweaks in Coach Schuman's playbook to handle the physical onslaught that Handsworth will bring at The Dukes.  There may be some moral victories for the Green and Gold, but not on the scoreboard

GI's Pick: Handsworth by 26

Kalamalka @ Okanagen Mission:  Big, big game in the Interior!  Kalmalka has the athletes to win this one and will pull away rapidly in the mid-second quarter.  OKM is going to have to slow this game down any way it can, particularly by using some ball control, clock eating offense and a few trick plays to get on the board.  The kicking game will be big and turnovers even bigger.

GI's Pick: Kalamalka y 20

Vernon @ NorKam:  Vernon's big boys are on the road to play the Saints at home.  The Panthers are surely on an up year and they won't break stride en route to taking another step closer to the playoffs.

GI's Pick: Vernon by 23

Nechako Valley @ Correlieu:  The Vikings may have been reading their own press clippings last weekend or Dutchess Park is really that good.  In either case, it is Correlieu's bad luck that they are Vanderhoof's rebound game on the 2011 schedule.  It won't be a nice day in Quesnel.

GI's Pick:  Nechako Valley by 34

Kelley Road @ College Heights: Two teams that bookend the city of Prince George Geographically.  Two teams headed in different directions.   Kelley Road is getting itself on a playoff trajectory.  College Heights is working its way through a tough, but developmentally important year.

GI's Pick:  Roadrunners by 18

Clarence Fulton @ Valleyview: This is going to be a very closely matched slugfest up in Kamloops.  I thing the perimeter running game will be the story here.  Fulton has one and Valleyview doesn't.  Can the Vikings keep their edge and turn this game into a slobber-knocker between the tackles?  Who's defense is going to get lazy and stunned by PAP?  Kicking game will be huge.  A consistent short field for one team's offense will be hard for its opponent to surmount.

GI's Pick: Fulton by 10

Mission @ Pitt Meadows: Two spread offenses, two pistol alignments, two vastly different rosters in terms of depth, size and speed.  Mt. Douglas was a tough game to play (kudos for playing it!), this game is going to be a lot worse for Pitt.

GI's Pick:  Mission by 48

Saturday, 8 October

South Kamloops @ Mt. Baker:  SKS is feeling its oats.  Baker is at the bottom of a long uphill slope towards being competitive.  SKS will run to daylight all day long.

GI's Pick: Titans by 40

Sexmith (Alberta) @ Dutchess Park: Sexmith is a very accomplished Alberta Football Program and the Condors are in what I would term as early football adolescence.  This will be a great growing game for Dutchess Park and it is very good to see the nexus of BC and Alberta programs on the field.  This said, the Sabres are going to dice up some bird in a game that ironically, is on Thanksgiving weekend.

GI's Pick: Sabres by 36

South Delta @ Seaquam:  I like this game.  Similar rosters in terms of size and speed.  South Delta throws the ball very, very well and Seaquam likes to ground and pound.  If there is wind and rain, it could be a long afternoon for SD.  Fair conditions and we have a game on our hands.  Overall, Seaquam is really playing good ball these days and they will surely bring their best to this home game.

GI's Pick: Seaquam by 16

Howe Sound (Tier 2)  @ Eric Hamber (Tier 2):  Howe Sound has really been slugging it out with folks these past four weeks and I believe them to be my pick as the number two playoff seed coming off the mainland when the playoff dance begins in earnest.  Hamber is learning the game.  It is going to be a tough afternoon for them.

GI's Pick: Howe Sound by 40

Gulf Islands(Tier 2)  @ Timberline (Tier 2):  Gulf Islands has yet to play a game in 2011.  Timberline has played four and is scoring points by the bushell.  Gulf Islands is a perfect study in why we should have eight or nine man football in BC.  They would be a powerhouse in that game.  Not this one.

GI's Pick: Timberline wraps the scoreboard and there is still 40 pts to zero on it.

Air Wolf ...These Guys Warm-Up By Throwing a Bucket of House Flies on the Field and Catching Them All!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

GI's Week Four Picks

Week Three Wrap-Up
This past week saw Mission again assert itself as one of the dominant forces in AA Ball; Handsworth played superb in a narrow loss to San Fransico's Bishop O'Grady; Bateman served notice that it has arrived in force on the AA scene; Barsby served up a TKO by half-time; Ballenas opened up the throttle of one of AA's most prolific offenses; Nechako Valley, Dutchess Park, Kalmalka and Vernon turned up the heat beyond the Coast Mountains and Nanaimo District, Edward Milne and Timberline served up some head turning beat-downs. Week four by and large is the end of pre-season. The final adjustments prior to league play are going to be made and then it is all business.
Dawg Defense On The Hunt
GI's AA Varsity Week Four Top Five

1. Mission Roadrunners
2. John Barsby Bulldogs
3. Seaquam SeaHawks
4. Handsworth Royals
5. Ballenas Whalers

GI's Tier 2 Varsity Week Four Top Five

1. Nanaimo District Islanders
2. Timberline Wolves
3. E.J. Milne Wolverines
4. Howe Sound Sounders
5. G.P. Vanier Towhees

GI's Week Four Picks

Thursday, 29 September
Correlieu @ Kelley Road: The Roadrunners have improved each week of the young season and are now beginning to find some execution to go with their physical brand of play. Correlieu just isn''t deep enough across the board to compete with El Norte's big boys in 2011.
GI's Pick: Kelley Road by 24
Friday, 30 September
Nechako Valley @ Dutchess Park: This is easily going to be one of the best games up North in 2011. Both squads are playing red-hot football and the winner will have the inside track to represent the division come playoff time. This said, the product up in Vanderhoof is smoother and more consistent than what the Condors of Dutchess Park are going to roll on the field with. Systems beat individual stud athletes almost every time.

GI's Pick: Vikings by 16

Okanagen Mission @ Valleyview: Valleyview really took it on the chin this weekend and are in a bit of a tailspin right now. OKM is finding its feet. This one will be really close and in Valleyview's case, the season may hinge on a big performance at home this week.

GI's Pick: OKM by 3

College Heights @ Prince George: The Polars step on the field with a decisive edge in talent. All things considered, the Cougar defense may keep the score close for a couple quarters, but then the Polars roll.

GI's Pick: Polars by 18
Langley @ Robert Bateman: Bateman is on the cusp of crashing the AA Top five. A huge statement game was played by the Wolves vs Hugh Boyd and the Bateman crew surely has equal parts adrenelin and momentum headed into their home tilt vs Langley. The Saints have got to be feeling a lot of urgency as they prepare for Bateman. Another tough loss has em looking in the mirror for some answers. Bateman's speed and thunder/lightning backfield present a big challenge for defenders this year. If the Saints can lock down on the Wolf receivers and crowd the box with everyone else, this could be a close game. If......
GI's Pick: Bateman by 24

Edward Milne (Tier 2) @ John Barsby: These two Island squads meet for the first time ever at the Varsity level. Milne has been playing red hot ball the past two weeks outscoring opponents 93-15. The Wolverines have a great power running game and play-action off of it. Defensively, the blue and maize are a reflection of their hard nosed running attack. This week's game up in Nanaimo will be a true litmus test as to how far the Milne program has come along. Barsby will certainly contest every snap.
GI's Pick: Barsby by 21
Abbottsford Collegiate (Tier 2) @ Holy Cross: This is going to be an awesome match-up across the board. The Panthers are tough as nails on defense and will be licking their chops with delight at the thought of testing themselves against the HC running game. The Crusaders are getting better each week and they hung some good points on #1 ranked AAA St. Thomas Moore this past weekend. If the Crusaders can find their running game and get some heat on the Abbottsford quarterback, this game can go their way. I like Abbottsford in a close one.

GI's Pick: Abbottsford by 2

Earl Marriot (AAA) @ Mission: Something big happened for Marriot this past weekend as they exploded for 60 plus points against a decent Rutland football team. There has got to be some belief and a sense of "the end of the beginnning" as a program with that signature win. Now comes the biggest test of the season for the Mariners as they play AA's #1 ranked Mission Roadrunners. Mission has the complete package offensively and defensively this year. It is tough to find cracks within the Roadrunners. Marriot is going to have to at least score half of last week's total offensively to be in this one. They also have to play defense at another level to avoid getting steam-rolled. Tall order.

GI's Pick: Mission by 26

Moscrop (Tier 2) @ Pitt Meadows: Sometimes it seems that a team picks-up where they left off the week before. Pitt roared back from a big deficit to tie the Windsor Dukes this past week. Moscrop ran into the gathering Abbottsford buzz saw. This one ought to be fairly close for awhile, but Pitt has shown itself to be tougher this year than originally thought. Moscrop will find some success when it gets into its league schedule.
GI's Pick: Pitt Meadows by 12

Mark Isfeld (Tier 2) @ Nanaimo District (Tier 2): Nanaimo District played a very big statement game vs a shell-shocked G.P. Vanier squad this past Friday entering run-time before half. The Islanders are the real deal in 2011 and will be chomping at the bit to tangle with the Ice. Defense and a punishing offensive attack will characterize The Mean Green on Friday. Strap on your headgear folks.

GI's Pick: Islanders by 28

Saturday, 1 October

West Vancouver @ Ballenas: The Whalers played lights out on the road vs AAA's #5 ranked Centennial losing by 1 point. Having scored a touchdown in the dying moments the Whalers were faced with a choice. Go for the win or tie the game. They went for the win and came up just short. This says a lot about the team and its outlook in 2011. The Whalers are playing for keeps and they truly believe that this is going to be a big year for the team/program. West Vancouver is going to be a divisional contender at the AAA level. The Highlanders have played physical smash-mouth games this year and have also played the finesse type of game. The Whalers can dance with either version and enter this game at home with a lot of swagger. Look for a real chess game by the respective coaching staffs. Short-Kicks and the rest of the special teams game will be big players on Saturday.

GI's Pick: West Vancouver by 12

Rick Hansen @ Seaquam: OK gang, now we see if Hansen is the real deal in 2011 or a relative AA middle-weight. Conversely, Seaquam can get this one done in decisive fashion and set the stage for a run at their division and beyond. I have a real hunch that the Hurricanes are going to be a dark horse this year when the season plays itself out. They are improving and showing tons of consistency on both sides of the ball. Seaquam however, is bigger and stronger than their valley foes and their coaching staff knows how to employ the tools at hand.

GI's Pick: Seaquam by 18

Hugh Boyd @ South Delta: Both teams went through humbling games this past week. I believe the health of the respective rosters will have a say in the outcome of this game along with turnovers. All things equal, South Delta has a more dynamic offensive attack and this will carry them to victory vs the Trojans.

GI's Pick: South Delta by 14

Kalamalka @ Mt. Baker: Kalamalka is very talented and the roster is laden with experienced players. Mt. Baker is going through the process of building a program. The long-trip is in Bakers corner this time round, but bus legs are not going to be enough to slow down the Lakers. This one will get out of hand early in the 2nd quarter.

GI's Pick: Kalamalka by 40 plus

Vernon @ Clarence Fulton: Vernon comes off of a dominant performance vs Norkam this past weekend. The Maroons have always been top rail on the football fence in town and the Panthers are perhaps as poised as they have ever been to erase their status as second best. Fulton knows it and will be on their A-Game when these two squads lock horns. Will be fun to watch!

GI's Pick: Fulton by 3

Frank Hurt (Tier 2) @ Timberline (Tier 2): Timberline is resurgent and may be the only Tier 2 team with the firepower to overcome Nanaimo District this year. Frank Hurt needs a big road win to turn around the 2011 season. The Wolves are very tough at home. There will be footballs in the air on Saturday thick as hail when these two squads get it on. Air Wolf will notch a W in their belt this weekend.

GI's Pick: Timberline by 21
G.P. Vanier (Tier 2) @ Howe Sound (Tier 2): This will be an extremely close game with both teams looking to rebound from losses. The Sounders have played tough, respectable ball this year. Vanier has had flashes of greatness, but consistency eludes them. If playbooks get shortened and the coaching staffs emphasize what "has worked" thus far in 2011, we will have a stellar game on our hands. Whomever does this best will win.

GI's Pick: G.P. Vanier by 2

Mt. Douglas (AAA) @ Pitt Meadows:  Mt. Douglas will be gracious to their hosts for providing a game at the last second.  Even so, Pitt Meadows will emerge from this one like so much shredded coleslaw.

GI's Pick: Mt. Douglas by 36

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gridiron's Week Three Picks

High Flying Roadrunners Post Big Win!
Week Two Recap
Dust Up In Abbottsford!

One of my favorite movies of the past decade is Gangs of New York.  One of my favorite lines/scenes in that movie is when the young up and comer Amsterdam gets into a scrap with one of the gangster Bill the Butcher's senior henchmen McGloin.  Amsterdam tunes him up and Bill hollers a resounding "The Mighty McGloin, let himself get fish hooked by a sprat"...much to McGloin's rage and discomfort.   Hey Mission, 22-15 victors over AAA ball's legendary and #2 ranked WJ Mouat Hawks...way to go.  You fish hooked em alright! Great Job!!!

In other action Barsby continued to roll and Seaquam made a huge statement about things to come with a sound victory over Kelowna.  Bateman survived a scare vs Nanaimo and South Delta added another W to their season.  Windsor is getting their legs under them after playing well offensively vs Vanier, but has yet to convince me that they can play with smashmouth teams in the mud.  They will get their chance to do so down the road I reckon.  I like the big win by Ballenas and was a bit shocked by Hugh Boyd's performance.  All can be well for the Trojans with a big game next week however.  In the Interior the Maroons exploded for big points and El Norte is quickly shaping up to be the Nechako Valley show for 2011.

In The Deuce, Nanaimo District has been impressive during their first two games and Island squads such as Milne and Vanier have surely declared they are playing for the marbles in 2011.  Timberline is back people and are going to shred some secondaries in the coming weeks.  We will all see if Moscrop is for real this coming weekend as they look to build upon an air show performance vs Isfeld.  Howe Sound was a big surprise as well as they played Valleyview to a draw this past weekend.

GI's Week Three Top AA Varsity Top Five

1. Mission
2. John Barsby
3. Seaquam
4. South Delta
5. Handsworth

GI's Week Three "The Deuce" Top Five

1. Nanaimo District
2. G.P. Vanier
3. Timberline
4. E.J. Milne
5. Moscrop

GI's Week Three Picks

Wednesday, 21 September

College Heights @ Nechako Valley: The Vikings have positioned themselves as the early season favorite to run the table and represent the North in the November playoff dance.  College Heights is looking to keep this one close with defense and ball control.  I just don't see the explosiveness from the Cougars.   The Vikings will hoist up some big cat pelts in their long houses come Wednesday night.

GI's Pick: Nechako Valley by 36

Friday, 23 September

Rick Hansen @ Langley: Hansen has been literally on the cusp of victory versus two AAA programs to open up their season.  Langley served up a disapointing performance versus a rebuilding Pitt Meadows crew this past weekend in their opener.  Hansen will be all over the Saints with their balanced run-pass attack coming from multiple formations and motion sets.  This one won't be close.

GI's Pick: Hurricanes by 21

Belmont (Tier 2) @ John Barsby: Belmont dropped an egg on the scoreboard in a big loss versus a banged-up Ballenas crew this past Saturday.  Was it just "a bad day" for the Blue Bulldogs of Langford?  Hard to say.  Belmont is coming to play in "The Cage" this Friday against Barsby.  Barsby was exposed offensively early on by Langley last Friday and there are some big corrections to be made for them to be consistent this week.   The Dawg Defense has surrendered 7 points in eight quarters thus far in 2011.  When it is all said and done however, Barsby has been playing at a higher level than their visitors and is always tough at home.

GI's Pick: Barsby by 28

G.P. Vanier (Tier 2) @ Nanaimo District (Tier 2):  This is The Deuce's best match-up of the week.  It will be a statement game for the league and looks to be one hec of a physical contest.  Both squads have opened up with AA varsity competition and played quite competitively in those games.  Vanier really pounds the ball and found their "off-tackle" power running game vs Windsor on Friday.  Nanaimo District gave a tough Robert Bateman squad a big scare up in the Valley and has been playing their most physical brand of football in years.  Look for turnovers and the kicking game to play a decisive role in Nanaimo come Friday afternoon.

GI's Pick: Nanaimo District by 8

Correlieu @ Dutchess Park: The Condors of Dutchess Park are probably the number two team up in El Norte.  Correlieu is working to claw their way out of the basement.  This one will be a beat-down.

GI's Pick: Condors feast and win by 27 plus.

Prince George @ Kelley Road: The Polars got taken out behind the ol woodshed and got soundly thrashed by Nechako Valley last week.  There has got to be plenty of video material for the Kelley Road coaching staff to peruse and exploit for this weekend's clash of the two biggest schools up North.  If the Roadrunners are going to be a part of the playoff mix in 2011, this is a must win for them.

GI's Pick: Upset alert....Kelley Road by 1

Robert Bateman @ Hugh Boyd: Bateman rolls in with a 2-0 record vs Tier 2 competition and Boyd is 0-2 vs AAA opponents in week 1 and 2.  Last week's game for the Trojans was an example of bus legs in the first half after a long trip to the Interior.  Bateman survived a physical contest with late game heroics on a fumbled ball.  I thought the Wolves would play better, particularly as hosts against a team with a long travel day.  This one is on Boyd's home field-turf and will be fast.  Bateman has an edge in team speed and the Trojans in size.  This game will be characterized by the prep that goes into it by the respective coaching staffs.  It will become evident as to whom has found a defensive weakness that can be repeatedly exploited.  Bateman is up against a legit AA program this week.

GI's Pick: Boyd by 16

Pitt Meadows @ Windsor:  OK Pitt, I owe you an apology for underestimating you last week.    That said, you are not going to throw any long balls against Windsor as they are pretty disciplined with their deep thirds.  The Dukes play good ball under their 3 shell and teams that roll in thinking they are going to pick them apart underneath are going to throw some picks.  If Pitt can play balanced and base off of a power running game they may have some success.  I do not think that they are patient enough to do so.  The Duke offense is a throw-back to the late 90's early 2000's when they were in their spread offense hayday.    Why not?  The new field is built for what the mean green is running this year.  The passing game looks good and there is enough of a run game to cause some serious defensive contradictions to emerge.

GI's Pick: Windsor by 18

Abbottsford Collegiate @ Moscrop (Tier 2): Abbey is a bunch of tough nuts who went toe to toe with Barsby for two quarters last Friday.  Offensively, they are balanced and run their spread offense very intelligently making adjustments quickly to what the defense is giving them and then accurately exploiting what they have seen.  The defense is absolutely physical and will smack opposing running backs with fury and a visceral glee.  Love it!  Moscrop proved in week 1 that their knees buckle when they get hit.  Abbottsford easily matches them athlete for athlete on the edge.  This one will be nasty.

GI's Pick:  Abbey by 38

Clarence Fulton @ Omak (WA): This is an annual pilgrimage for the Maroons south of the border.  They never fare very well in the game,  but always emerge a better squad for it.  The Maroons are ascendent in 2011 as a program, but this said, they are still on the foothill of the Alp they intend to climb. 

GI's Pick: Omak by 40

San Franscisco (CA) @ Handsworth:  The Royals put some good points and numbers up in their tilt vs a playoff bound AAA Carson Graham squad last weekend.  Defensively, they cannot be happy with themselves however.  I think that the Royals will really step-up their defensive game on Friday and keep things much closer.  The offense will help a lot with some ball control and points scored.

GI's Pick: Royals lose by 13

Saturday, 24 September

Ballenas @ Centennial (AAA): The 2-0 Whalers who have been feasting on Tier 2 competition take a big step-up in their schedule when they travel to play a AAA Centennial squad who have been taking their licks against top flight US competition the past few weeks.  If the Whalers can play up to the potential of their wild and whacky spread offense they have an outside chance in this game.  If the contest turns into a run based shoving contest, it could get ugly.

GI's Pick: Centennial by 28

Norkam @ Frank Hurt (Tier 2): This will be a very balanced game on both sides of the ball.  The Hornets have not fared well against the run and their offense has been anemic.  Norkam on the other hand, is playing its first game of the season.  There has bound to be some kinks to be worked out for the Saints.  This game will be close, but the Hornets are a bit more battle tested.

GI's Pick: Frank Hurt by 3

STMC (AAA) @ Holy Cross:  Two teams that know each other very well.  Two teams on vastly different trajectories headed into week 3.  The game will be on mercy time by mid to late 2nd quarter.

GI's Pick: STM by 38

Mission @ South Delta:  Two teams with big dreams for 2011.  Mission has been playing top flight competition the past three weeks and South Delta has been building up to it with this game.  Mission just knocked off AAA's number 2 ranked WJ Mouat Hawks last Friday night.  The Roadrunner defense has been stellar since the get go and their offense is playing largely mistake free and highly explosive ball.  Mission dominates every match-up on either side of the ball.  They will take this game into overdrive in the second half.

GI's Pick: Mission by 28

Argyle (Tier 2) @ Mark Isfeld (Tier 2): This game will be close.  Both teams have been playing sloppy ball the past two weeks and both teams are searching for some momentum/success.  Argyle has the size and numbers headed in to the game.  Isfeld has experience and home field.  Look for the Ice to put together some decent second half drives that will push them over the top.

GI's Pick: Isfeld by 12

Eric Hamber (Tier 2) @ Edward Milne (Tier 2): Milne has served notice that they are a playoff contender and that they can run the football consistently.  Hamber has the "new team blues" as they are going through the growing pains that come with inexperience and teaching the game to brand new players in the 11th and 12th grades.  Been there back in the day!  Some advice to Hamber, "Find a couple things you think you can do well and hang your hat on em.  Celebrate all your little successes along the way and remember to compete against yourselves as opposed to opponents who are largely beyond your control."  It will get better for you in the long-run.

GI's Pick: Milne pounds their way to a victory margin of 30 plus points.

Howe Sound (Tier 2) @ Timberline (Tier 2):  OK Sounders, I sure had to stomache the taste of eating crowe after your stellar performance against a decent Valleyview squad last weekend.  I am not convinced that you are "all that" however and you are going to get seriously shelled by Timberline via the air.  Your best hope is to pound the rock and keep their offensive circus off of the field. Timberline has some of its traditional size and a very stubborn ol Defensive Coordinator to go with it.  Bad dreams for the Sounders.

GI's Pick: Air Wolves by 14

Valleyview @ Vernon: Word has it that the Panthers are much improved over last year and are working to upset perrenial powers suck as Fulton and OKM this season.  Best not to overlook a Valleyview group that is beginning to have a great season of their own in 2011.  Valleyview has put in a good September thus far and the game savy they have accrued in weeks 1 and 2 will be at their side as they square off with the Panthers.  Look for turnovers and Vernon miscues handling the ball to play a big role during this game.

GI's Pick:  Valleyview by 12

West Vancouver (AAA) @ Seaquam:  West Vancouver had better have a good point man as I believe they are headed into an ambush.  A two touchdown win vs a Handsworth squad trying to find its feet in the season opener is a world away from the slobber-knocker that awaits on Saturday.  Seaquam has the size and speed to go toe-to-toe with anything West Van brings at em and the SeaHawks have found some serious momentum coming out of the Kelowna game.  I am not saying that this game will be a blowout, but it is surely going to be a much tougher contest than week 1.   Look for a few Seaquam wrinkles via formation and the air to manifest themselves.

GI's Pick: Seaquam by 9