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

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gridiron's Picks Week 2

Week 1 Recap

Mission was again impressive as they rolled to victory over Seaquam in a game that was never in doubt.  Barsby chewed up Holy Cross on the ground and served up some big defensive licks en route to a shutout performance over the visiting Crusaders.  Ballenas came back from a 20-19 deficit in a phyrric victory over Nanaimo District and Bateman flat out steamrolled Moscrop in their season opener.  South Delta's Sundevils took AAA New Westminster to the mat in a narrow loss that future opponents had better file in the "These guys are dangerous" file.  The Trojans of Hugh Boyd played tough while coming up short vs emerging AAA contender Lord Tweedsmuir and Handsworth sputtered vs AAA West Vancouver.  Up in the interior, Valleyview served notice that it is going to be a force to reckon with when conference play begins and up North, it is beginning to look like a two team race for first place between Nechako Valley and Prince George.  Week two is going to be fun as things continue to develop.

GI's AA Varsity Top Five

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

GI's Tier 2 Top Five

1. Nanaimo District
2. Belmont
3. G.P. Vanier
4. Moscrop
5. Frank Hurt

GI's Week Two Picks

Thursday, 15 September

Nechako Valley @ Prince George: In week one Nechako Valley looked tight on defence shutting down Kelly Road  and creating 8 turnover (3 Int and 5 fumbles). The Vikings offence will need to be able to capitalize on opportunities in week two as they were in the red zone six times and only came away with two touchdowns. Prince George looked good in their first game taking advantage of an inexperienced Correlieu team that missed some easy tackles. The Polars will have to find their passing game if they want to have success against the athletic Vikings defence. Nechako Valley should take this one with deeper talent and more experience in the trenches.

El Norte's Pick: Nechako Valley by 21

Friday, 16 September

John Barsby @ Abbottsford Collegiate:  Barsby put together some good defensive numbers and the Dawg offense showed flashes of its potential en route to blanking Holy Cross 36-0 last Friday.  Abby is playing its season opener in this tilt.  Barsby has to get-up at 5 AM in order to assemble and catch to 0620 ferry across the moat to be on time for the 12 PM kick-off at Memorial stadium.  The first quarter should be interesting with a 20% chance of stray sleep-walkers being sighted at or near the stadium.  Abbottsford is surely a team on the rise with big, physical players up front and a forward leaning power running game behind them.  Play action pass is a concern for the Dawg defenders as is the Abbottsford QB outside of the pocket.  I like Barsby's special teams as a difference maker in this contest along with their buzz saw offensive assault.  So far this year the defense has been perfect in the points against category.  Could be a fun game to watch.

GI's Pick: Barsby by 20

Mt. Boucherie (AAA)  @ Rick Hansen:  This year's Hansen squad is an improvement over the 2010 edition and they played a good tough game vs Marriot last weekend.  That said, Mt. Boucherie has a stronger roster and has consistently demonstrated themselves to be an upper-mid level AAA contender in the Interior.  Look for the Bears to lean on some heavy duty power running throughout the contest en route to a physically satisfying road victory.

GI's Pick: Mt. Boucherie by 8

South Delta @ Earl Marriot (AAA):  Surprisingly close score for the Sundevils last week as they travelled to New Westminster.  Marriot is coming off of an emotional and confidence building win versus Rick Hansen in week one. I think that the Sundevils are going to take another big step forward this weekend vs the Mariners as their passing game begins to click and their defense picks-up where they left off vs the run happy Hyaks.  Marriot may have turned a corner somewhat, but certainly not at a right angle just yet.

GI's Pick: South Delta by 12

Holy Cross @ Lord Tweedsmuir: The Crusaders are smarting from their opener at John Barsby and will be a better team headed into this week's tilt vs LT.  The Panthers really bealieve that 2011 is their year and are seeking to run the table in pre-season at the very least.  HC is going to run a lot of power and this feeds right into the strength of the Panther defense.  LT does a great job of preparing for opponents week by week and they are not going to get surprised come Friday.  The balanced Panther offense is going to find some cracks in the Crusader defensive castle so-to-speak that will lead to some big plays on offense.

GI's Pick: LT by 24

Hugh Boyd @ Rutland (AAA):  Boyd's long travel day will be rewarded with the first W of the season as they complete their home and home with Rutland.  A good performance vs the much stronger Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers last weekend is a great building block for the Trojans in their quest for improvement.  The score in this game will widen as the clock winds down.

GI's Pick: Boyd by 23

G.P. Vanier (Tier 2) @ Windsor: Vanier is going to have the athletes, the size and the overall speed in this contest by a wide and clear margin.  Windsor knows how to defend against power running games and their cover three is about as air tight as it gets.  Look for Vanier's big back to impress early, but when the Dukes dial in on the two or three favorite plays of the Towhee offense, he will get gang tackled the rest of the day.  Defensively, the Dukes will come up with some picks and will put their offense on a short field several times.  The Duke offense will hit Vanier "where they aint" and trap the hec out of the defensive front.

GI's Pick: Windsor by 22

Timberline @ Eric Hamber: Timberline is not going to roll into town with much more than twenty bodies at the outside.  The kids that suit up however, will be good players and Hamber will not know what hit them when the Wolves get to chucking the ball around the field.  Look for a very big Timberline offensive output in this one.

GI's Pick: Timberline by 40

Mark Isfeld (Tier 2) @ Moscrop (Tier 2): Isfeld travels to play a seriously tenderized Moscrop team this Friday.  If the Ice can put together a physical performance the Panthers may crumble as the game progresses.  It remains to be seen what Isfeld is all about in 2011 having elected to skip spring football.  Moscrop has played their toughest game of the season and things can only get better from here if they can put a good week of practice together.

GI's Pick: Moscrop by 7

Valleyview @ Howe Sound Tier 2): Valleyview just knocked off an AAA opponent.  Howe Sound is green as grass.  This game by any measure will not be close.  Howe Sound's biggest advantage will come from their sloppy play making the game so disjointed that the Vikings never get into a groove.

GI's Pick: Valleyview by 30 plus.

Nanaimo District (Tier 2) @ Robert Bateman:  Bateman blew the doors off of a very outmatched Moscrop squad last week with the game called mid third quarter and the Wolves up by 40 or so.  Nanaimo District was a couple broken plays away from possibly upsetting Ballenas in their opener.  The Bateman roster and power running game are going to be a terrific test for their Island guests on Friday afternoon.  Nanaimo District can play some good ball however, so the score will not be as lopsided as some may think.  Bateman is the real deal and will be the beneficiary of a home game vs an opponent who has travelled for 4 hours.  This game will be close at half-time and then will open up.

GI's Pick: Bateman by 26 

Pitt Meadows @ Langley: The Marauders are in a total re-build this year.  Langley is stronger than it has ever been.  Look for the big, physical Saints to run a lot of power right at the Marauder defense.  This game will get ugly by the mid third quarter.

GI's Pick: Langley by 30

Seaquam @ Kelowna (AAA): Kelowna and Seaquam know each other very, very well as the coaching staff are long-time friends and these two squads have made it an annual habit to square off against one another in pre-season.  I think the Owls turned a page offensively as they came roaring back to erase a large deficit on the scoreboard vs Carson last week narrowly losing that game.  Seaquam played Mission tough throughout and will also be playing better ball second time around.  I think that the Owls are a bit ahead in terms of offensive execution heading into this game and will not find themselve overly surprised by the SeaHawk attack.

GI's Pick: Kelowna by 7

Mission @ WJ Mouat (AAA): This will be a defining game for Mission as they cross the valley to tangle with arguably the second best team in AAA.  Size and speed are equally matched as are tangibles such as experience and strength of schedule to date.  Mission's defense is coming off of a big performance and the Mouat tilt vs Mt. Douglas gives the Roadrunner staff plenty of material to work with as the Hawks gave up big points.  Coach Watrin was keeping his offensive cards close to the vest vs Seaquam too.  These two programs are know for offense in particular.  I think however, it will be the respective defenses that are going to define who wins and loses.

GI's Pick: Mission by 2 Yep, you heard it here first.

College Heights @ Correlieu:  Neither team looked polished in week one, but both showed some signs of life. College Heights wasn't able to contain the speed that Duchess Park brought to the field in their opener, but will have a better match up this week as they will be the more athletic team. If the Cougars can find their offensive leaders, this one could be over early. Correlieu's ability to make key plays in their opener lends some hope that if they can find a way to come together as a defence, they could walk away with a win.

El Norte's Pick: College Heights by 14

Kelley Road @ Dutchess Park: The tale of the tape would say these are teams headed in opposite directions.   Kelly Road with no points in its first two games is searching for that spark they had on offence last season.  Dutchess Park looked explosive with their team speed ripping apart College Heights in last week's game. Both of these squads played in zero week so they ought to start to hit their stride in week two.  Both teams are very athletic with Kelly Road bringing a lot of physicality on every play, but they may not have the answers for the well rounded offence of the Condors.

El Norte's Pick:  Dutchess Park by 7

Saturday, September 17th

Handsworth @ Carson Graham (AAA): The 2011 edition of the Buchannan Bowl looks to be a pretty good game looking at last week's results for the Royals and Eagles respectively.  Handsworth, a notorious slow starter, ought to improve on their collective performance vs West Van in week 1 while the Eagles are surely on a high after coming out on top of a shootout with Kelowna.  Look for the Eagles to exert their size and speed advantage to full effect in this game.

GI's Pick: Carson by 17

Belmont (Tier 2) @ Ballenas: In terms of size and athleticism these two teams are very evenly matched.  The Whalers however, have a lot more time invested in their offensive attack than the Bulldogs and execute to a much higher level.  There is also the psychological hurdle for the Belmont group who have never come out on top in this contest.  The wilcard on Saturday is going to be the health of Ballenas.  They got royally chewed up by Nanaimo District last Friday and will be using a lot of smoke and mirrors to get by.  Look for Ballenas to air up the ball a whole bunch and move it on the ground East-West with standout receiver Dustin Rodriguez.  If Belmont can lock down on him and keep the Whaler QB in the pocket, we could have a bit of a game on our hands.

GI's Pick: Whalers by 23

Edward Milne (Tier 2) @ Frank Hurt (Tier 2):  Milne has a pretty good little squad on their hands in 2011.  Frank Hurt is featuring a wide open attack that could be feast or famine depending on the Wolverine secondary's ability to defend the vertical routes.  Milne has a decent power running game to go with a well constructed play-action passing attack.

GI's Pick: Milne in an "upset" by 8