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
2. John Barsby
3. South Delta
4. Robert Bateman
GI's Tier 2 Top Five
1. Nanaimo District
3. G.P. Vanier
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