2013 AA Varsity Pre-Season Edition
|2013: Let The Banging Begin!|
GI's Pre-Season Top 10
1. South Delta Sun Devils
2. John Barsby Bulldogs
3. Mission Roadrunners
4. Carson Graham Eagles
5. Seaquam Seahawks
6. Windsor Dukes
7. Rick Hanson Hurricanes
8. Robert Bateman Timberwolves
9. Ballenas Whalers
10. Nanaimo District Islanders
Ranking The Conferences
1. Eastern Conference:
|Roadrunner Reload for 2013|
The Eastern Conference is going to be lights out competitive from second place to to fifth place. Mission is still heads above the competition, but it really gets interesting after that. The Roadrunners are just too big, fast, experienced and polished to succumb to their divisional competitors this year. This said, I believe it may be the last year that this is the case, so they better make hay while the sun shines because there are some nasty Grizzlies and Panthers looming closer in the rear view mirror. Hanson is the most balanced after Mission and the Hurricanes ought to fend off the competition for the second seed. I think this squad shows a big commitment to the weight room in terms of the way they move and play. There is a swagger about the Hurricanes that has not been present since 2009. Bateman will be good, particularly on the offensive perimeter, but they lack the size and push up front to grind on the better teams. If Graham can get a good start they will have a decent shot at the playoffs. If I were a Grizzly varsity player I'd be doing everything I can to stay out of the shaddow of the top rated JV squad in BC. That friends, is a recipe for suck! I think Graham is going to improve massivley from spring ball over the summer and early pre-season. The Grizzlies are playing all the tough games they can find leading up to league play and other than Mission, they won't be outmatched in a single divisional contest come September and October. The biggest challenge for these guys is going to be badweather ball. Pretty offenses get their butts handed to them when the rain is blowing sideways in late October/November. Abbey is going to play tough throughout as their program is a reflection of the HC. I really like the players moving into the 11th grade for the Panthers. They were courageous last year pulling double duty with the varsity, skilled and tough as nails. If the Abbey offense comes together, I think they could surge as high as second place. Langley has good numbers this year, but really needs to find the self-confidence to win consistently. If this program ever finds that belief and gets on a roll, a sleeping giant may have awoken. Pitt really struggled in spring and were unable to finish a full exhibition game vs Belmont in early June. I think there is a pretty big lacrosse scene and out of season basketball out that way that hobbled that endeavor. The coaching acumen and desire is decent and Pitt will surge late if they can get bodies out for football come August and September. SRT is a bit of an enigma as they start their first year of AA varsity play. The facilities are there, but there is zero varsity experience against AA divisional opponents. Probably a big year to build on positives as they arise and establish a culture of improvement.
2. Western Conference:
|Whalers and Islanders Will Be Close In 2013!|
Much like the East, the Western Conference is highly comptetitive. Sentinel is back at varsity ball for the first time since the mid-2000's and represents the only real enigma for the prognosticators. Until proven otherwise, Barsby is the squad to beat out west. The Dawgs have a tremendous combination of experience, size, speed and physicality. The only hamstring could be depth down the final stretch if the injury bug bites. Carson Graham is loaded with talent and this group has been together by and large for four years. The Eagles entering their g. 12 year were provincial semi-finalists at JV in 2011 and they took the runner-up Mission Roadrunners to the matt in that game losing by the narrowest of margins. Coach Buchannen and co are looking to rebound from a 2012 varsity season that was definitely a craw sticker. Windsor Dukes, well hey, if Coach Schuman could just clone a couple more copies of himself, these guys would automatically challenge for top of the heap provincially right out of the gates. The raw talent is certainly there to surge late in the year. This is probably what will happen as the staff was pretty much a one man show according to their spring opponent South Delta. Look for some help to arrive on the bench this fall and the Green and Yellow to make huge strides en route to a playoff appearance. At that time, no one can count em out. The Ballenas Whalers are in a varsity re-build this year, but showed flashes of greatness during spring ball. The Parksville group will get some help from the JV squad and the new guys out for ball at varsity are not far off from taking their game to the next level. The Whalers if they can find a way to the playoffs will be up to their dangerous big play offensive antics that they have made a career of the past 13 years. Nanaimo District, here gang is a real success story. The core of this group endured a challenging JV season two years back, short of numbers and minus any kind of experience. All they have done since then is work on their game and build something they can be proud of week-to week. Big numbers were on the field this spring and the offense was both efficient and nasty physical. A defense stocked with brand new players played lights out surpassing the expectations of most everyone present that day. There are several impact athletes who will join the spring crew this fall on the gridiron. What I am saying is that this team could surge to the top of the division if they maintain their trajectory, completely buy in and get a couple breaks in big games. Not so dark a horse. Argyle finished their varsity and JV seasons vs Barsby in 2012 on the turf at Merle Logan. This game is becoming a bit of a rivalry and the Dawgs will be playing at Argyle this September in a game that oozes payback. Argyle's JV's last year had the best talent in the province and the only thing that kept them from running the table was experience. This crew has got to be highly motivated and ready to establish itself as top rail on the North Shore. Make no mistake, the Pipers will not be pushovers and could easily surge into the playoff dance this year. Sentinel will have some big solid players and rely heavily on throwing the football. I think this team is still a year or two out from big games in November. We will see.
3. Southern Conference:
|Rising "Hawks" will challenge South Delta!|
South Delta has thoroughly dominated the South these past two years and the gap will widen again this season. Winning the provincial championship was a boon for the program in terms of increased notoriety in their town and players coming out to wear a SunDevil uniform. A rather large fella with a booming voice from that program thinks that this year's version is going to be better than last year's team. I am really looking forward to seeing how a late mid-season tilt vs AAA Mt. Douglas shakes down. You heard it here folks, SD wins it. About 2000 feet down the South Conference slope resides my number two pick, the Seaquam Seahawks. There is a rennassaince taking place with this program and the kids are surely voting with their feet with big roster numbers coming out for ball. The post Mark Lego offense will be wearing different clothes, but on the aggregate, could put up better numbers than its recent predecessor. It will be up to the defense to hold the fort til the offensive group finds its legs for league play. I think the biggest challenge for Seaquam will be taking such a large group of players, including many newcomers to the game and shaping them into an effective, cohesive unit that gets the W's when they count. After Seaquam and only 40 feet below resides Spectrum, Holy Cross and Hugh Boyd. This is going to be an epic scrap with each program capeable of beating the others on any given day. In fact, Seaquam had better not be assuming an automatic win vs any one of these teams. The return of Roy Vollinger to the game had better not be overlooked either. Spectrum will be the one team in the division who is playing ball that harkens back to the days of Woody Hayes and Bo. Game day for Spectrum will be a welcome relief from the week of practice preceding it! Holy Cross is well, at a crossroads. Do they get better or do they get worse? Me thinks the former. The addition of Coach Brian Higgens to the squad may be the gear that makes all the others turn a little bit more efficiently. Get ready to defend the jet sweep, fly and of course, some insane trickery along the way folks. The men of Troy are again large fellas with a solid group of "skill" players to accompany them. I think these guys may be hanging their hat on the big play via the air a bit more than in recent years. Look for offensive balance and a defense that gets better each week. Frank Hurt suffers from not having a JV team the past couple years. This will manifest itself when the 9th and 10th graders start taking the big licks at AA Varsity play. There is a huge difference between tier 2 play and lining up against the South Deltas of the league. One positive has been winning consistency the past couple years against the competition that was there. I believe that a divisional win is a success for this team and more than one win is a triumph. Anything more than that is well, a Surreyrella story for the ages. Again folks, this division will be competing for 2nd place and for a little twitching space/room from the other bugs stuck in South Delta's grill.
4. Okanagen Conference:
|Valleyview Set To Unleash!|
The Okanagen Conference looks to be a three team race for first place in 2013. The Vernon Panthers led by their stellar tailback who dominates the touches in their Pro-I offense are a threat to score big with every handoff. The Panthers were BC Semi-Finalists in 2011 and are rapidly extablishing themselves as a consistently elite squad within the conference. Hot on the heels are the Valleyview Vikings of Kamloops. The Vikings are deep on both sides of the football and have made a living offensively for several years by gashing opponents with their unique flex-bone attack on offense. The Vikings may run their option oriented style of ball to a shotgun look in 2013 but will still have the hard nosed, workman like approach to the game. The third team to keep an eye on is the Clarence Fulton Maroons. Since 1999, this program has been the top rail in the interior on the most consistent basis. The driving force behind Fulton has been coach Mike Scheller. Last year he took a hiatus from coaching his beloved Maroons and spent the 2012 season coaching in Nevada. Fulton didn't field a squad in 2012. This year he is back and the turnout is a big reflection of the enthusiasm generated. A big roster has also been complimented by a great coaching hire in Lance Heron, formerly of Mission and with a successful stint in Germany. The Maroons will get better as the year unfolds and I believe they may plow a ways into the playoffs. Fulton's season will hinge on how quickly their Pistol offense can find its feet. Early on, the Maroon defenders are going to have to hold the fort. The defense will be built on a pair of very good defensive ends and a physical crew in support. Outside of the big three it will be a toss-up between South Kamloops, OKM, Westsyde and Mt. Baker. SKS and Westsyde are looking for bigger numbers to show up in August while Mt. Baker and OKM are working hard on bringing up the level of play week in and week out. There is the possibility of Seaton HS getting on the schedule this Fall as well. **Salmon Arm is playing an exhibition season in the Okanagen conference as their numbers are just over the AAA/AA cutoff. The addition of the Golds to the conference schedule is a big plus for all concerned as it certainly raises the bar in terms of competition. The Achilles heel for this conference has always been not having a high degree of competitiveness during league play and then coming face to face with programs down south that have emerged from conference meat grinders. Perhaps 2013 will be the beginnings of positive change in this regard.
5. Northern Conference:
|Duchess Park Looks Roll-Up El Norte!|
The North is shaping up to be a two horse race with Duchess Park and Kelley Road peaking in terms of roster depth, maturity and athleticism. The rest of the pack looks to be led by Nechako Valley, College Heights, Correlieu and PGSS. The Condors have big aspirations for 2013 and are spending their summer in full "get better" mode as they are using a team trip to Oregon to better themselves. Pre-season sees this crew hosting Nanaimo's John Barsby Bulldogs as a litmus test for how far this crew has come along since the first tangle back in 2010. From there it is off to TCB in conference play. Duchess is loaded at the QB and RB positions with a solid crew of receivers to spray the ball around to. Up front there is both size and experience anchored on their 6'5" 290lb left tackle. Defensively, this team is a reflection of its offensive self with many players assuming iron man roles on field. Kelley Road will be built around their physical running game in 2013 and with the defense having to face this phenom every day at practice, you know that the team personality is going to be nasty and looking to brawl come game day. Nechako Valley graduated a ton of talent and leadership this June and is on a rebuild. In terms of pound-for-pound consistency and winning, this program has been the northern elite for years, but now a lot of folks are going to be coming around looking to cash cheques from years past. The Vanderhoof fellas are going to have the challenge of their football lives in 2013 to get to or near the top of the divisional standings in 13. College Heights won it all last season and now find themselves in a similar situation to their bretheren up river in The Hoof. The great thing about graduating a solid group of Sr's is that there is lots of room for the up and comers to bring their A-game to the fore. Correlieu can surprise from year-to -year and cannot be counted out of a run to mid-divisional status by November. PGSS is going to have to rely heavily on their talented JV's making a sizeable varsity contribution if they are going to make any kind of headway this season. Finding positives and keeping hope alive may be the core mission at varsity this year.
|Lightning quick, the Roadrunners ought to leave the East "snake-bit" in 2013|
Eastern Conference Projected Order of Finish
2. Rick Hanson
3. Robert Bateman
4. GW Graham
7. Pitt Meadows
8. Samuel Roberts
|Eagles set to soar come Fall Ball!|
Western Conference Projected Order of Finish
1. John Barsby
2. Carson Graham
5. Nanaimo District
|Newcomers, the Spectrum Thunder will make an immediate impact in the South!|
Southern Conference Projected Order of Finish
1. South Delta
4. Holy Cross
5. Hugh Boyd
6. Frank Hurt
|Blue Wave seeks to capsize the competition in 2013|
Okanagen Conference Projected Order of Finish
2. Salmon Arm (Exhibition Season)
4. Clarence Fulton
5. South Kamloops
6. Okanagen Mission
8. Mt. Baker
|NVSS Looks To Climb Back On Top Of The North This Fall!|
Northern Conference Projected Order of Finish
1. Duchess Park
2. Kelley Road
3. Nechako Valley
4. College Heights
5. Prince George
Four Fearless Predictions For 2013
1. Spectrum hammers its way to a Semi-Final Appearance!
2. GW Graham crashes the playoff dance!
3. A North Division team will win an opening round playoff game!
4. South Delta defeats Mt. Douglas in AA-AAA cross-over game!