Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gridiron's Week 9

AA Varsity Week Nine

Week 9, as it should, will be big, big, big for multiple squads.  The West is a traffic jam at the top with all the marbles at stake come Thursday, Barsby @ Carson and Saturday, Argyle @ Ballenas. When these games are played-out, look for the seeding 1-4 to be set.  A similar situation exists in every conference except the North.  Halloween weekend could certainly be trick or treat for more than one team.  Week 9 will also be for several squads, the culmination of a season and a high school career for their Sr.'s.  No regrets guys, you have demonstrated the courage to step into the arena and compete, to measure yourselves physically and mentally not only on game day, but every practice and workout session attended since you first put on a helmet.   You have made some life-long friendships, built memories and gave of yourselves to a higher cause.  There are no failures amongst you, only better people.  As the football herd thins itself in 2014, take a moment everyone to give your teammates a pat on the back, appreciate the competition you face/have faced, thank your parents and coaches, and give those referees a nod of respect, for without one or the other, there is no football and the world would be a poorer place for it.

Week Eight In Review

Carson Graham and Ballenas have caught fire and are playing tremendous football at exactly the right time in the season leaving a trail of frustration and flattened defenses in their wake.  Mission and Vernon win another game with the Roadrunners yet to be seriously tested vs AA competition. Barsby bounces up on to their feet in a zany fashion, Abbey makes a statement and the Marauders, well, they live up to their namesake.  In the Interior, the Clarence Fulton Maroons continued their ascent to their cross-town week 9 showdown.  The South gets itself a couple of tight games that sort out the post season prospects for several squads.  It was a defining weekend at the AA level for sure and the table is set for a decisive week 9 to follow.



Mission 38 Nanaimo District 7
Vernon 42 Westsyde 7
John Barsby 38 Windsor 18
Pitt Meadows 50 Rick Hansen 0
Carson Graham 34 No 5 Argyle 7
Holy Cross 48 Moscrop 46 (OT)
Abbotsford 44 Robert Bateman 28
Clarence Fulton 33 Valleyview 0
GW Graham 15 Samuel Robertson 0

Ballenas 44 Sentinel 0
Seaquam 9 Frank Hurt 0
Gridiron's AA Varsity Top 5

1. Vernon Panthers
2. Mission Roadrunners
3. Carson Graham Eagles
4. Ballenas Whalers
5. John Barsby Bulldogs

Honourable Mention

Pitt Meadows Marauders, Abbottsford Panthers. Hugh Boyd Trojans, Duchess Park Condors. Argyle Pipers

GI's Picks


John Barsby @ Carson Graham: Nothing riding on this game except first place seed out of the West, pride and potential retribution for last year's Subway Bowl dramatics. Naw, garden variety stuff taking place Thursday on the North Shore.  Carson rolls into this game on fire and scoring points by the bushell.  The Eagles have been getting it done on by air, ground and on specials as good as anyone in AA ball.  But for a week 4 loss to Ballenas coming off of the strike, this team should by all rights be undefeated.  Barsby has with one notable loss, been finding ways to win games this year that are way outside their traditional offensive box.  The roster it would seem, always has a bigger say than an offensive coordinator's "philosophy".  The ball has been getting in the end zone however, and that ultimately, is what counts.  Defensively, Barsby will be challenged in ways it has not come up against thus far in 2014.  The Eagles are balanced and rain points on the opposition.  On the defensive side of the ball, Carson is going to have to find a way to match-up against against Barsby's big play receivers.  Up front, I see a slight edge to the Eagles in terms of size.  The kicking game should be huge!  GI's Pick: Carson by 8

Moscrop @ Frank Hurt:  A meaningful game for both teams.  Each is desperate for a win and each has a Jekyle and Hyde mentality this year.  I think Moscrop has the deeper roster and more explosive athletes. GI's Pick: Give this one to the Panthers by 6


Nanaimo District @ Windsor: This game is one of the great match-ups of the whole weekend!  The Dukes are playing very tough football and so are the Islanders.  Windsor's running game will challenge the Islanders, but the Duke defense will also find itself under siege by the Islander offense. There are going to be a lot of points scored in this football game! Special teams and whomever finds their defensive selves as the game progresses will be the difference maker.  GI's Pick: Windsor by 4

Sentinel @ Pitt Meadows: Poor Sentinel, they just got flattened by BC's best pure running game at the hands of Ballenas and they now stagger down the highway to play Pitt Meadows, owners of an offense that would challenge Ballenas for that moniker.  This week and last will be the test of the Spartan mental toughness that echos through program history as a positive or negative turning point.  A lot rides on the shoulders of this year's team and if they can answer the bell, they can take credit for the great things that will follow in years to come.  Pitt, well they are looking to grease their tank treads for the playoffs to follow. GI's Pick: Pitt by 30 plus.

Salmon Arm @ Westsyde: This will be a good Interior scrap with the roster edge going to the Golds and home field to Westsyde.  I think that the approaching week of practice will have a say for both teams and that turnovers will figure prominently.  GI's Pick: Salmon Arm by 7

Holy Cross @ Hugh Boyd: Holy Cross is coming off of an emotional victory with a lot of points on the board.  For their sake, the Crusaders had better have dialed things in at 12:01 AM Sunday morning because they are up against the only legit contender coming out of the South this season in Hugh Boyd.  The Trojans have been devastatingly effective on defense and rolling up the points playing on short fields against all comers.  Look for another big, big day for the black and gold. GI's Pick: Trojans by 27

Robert Bateman @ G.W. Graham: A great East Conference match-up that has massive playoff implications for both squads.  Graham has a slight edge on athletes and a week of rest under their belts.  Bateman has been slugging it out week after week and has a battle tested look about em.  In the end, some perimeter match-ups will be prominent when these two clash and Graham has the speed.  GI's Pick: Grizzlies by 10

South Kamloops @ Valleyview: This is a pride game for both groups of Sr.'s come Friday.  Many of these players are a short seven moths away from being BCFC teammates with the Broncos.  Always good to have H.S. bragging rights in the locker-room for the next four years.  I think the Titans are playing more consistent and competitive ball of late. GI's Pick: Titans by 11


Vernon @ Clarence Fulton:  This will be Vernon's biggest test in divisional play this year.  The game will be close until the opening kick-off and then the avalanche will begin.  No disrespect to the Maroons who have put together a fine season for themselves, but the rosters are a mismatch and more importantly, Vernon has the power of program pushing them forwards as the previous 4-5 years will have a say on game day. GI's Pick: Panthers by 27 plus.

Argyle @ Ballenas: The Pipers are in a state of collective shock after getting dusted by Carson Graham on Friday,  They are on the road and are coming up against the best pure running game they have faced all year and are playing this game in November!  Compounding this situation are two more factors that will definitely weigh in: 1) Argyle passes a lot 2) The game is going to be played on Whaler Grass, wet grass at that. This game will be a 9 on 7 muddy Disneyland.  Add wind, and it will be a waking nightmare for the visitors.  GI's Pick: Whalers by 19 plus.

Rick Hansen @ Abbottsford: Two teams headed different directions.  Time for the Hurricanes to play hard and play for each other. Time to build some more positive memories for the Sr.'s to carry forward into their lives.  The Panthers on the other hand, are on a collision course with an open ended playoff run. GI's Pick: Abbey by 28 

AA Jr. Varsity Top Five

1. Abbottsford Panthers
2. G.W. Graham Grizzlies
3. Duchess Park Condors
4. Ballenas Whalers / John Barsby Bulldogs
5. Carson Graham Eagles

Honourable Mention

Nanaimo District Islanders, Windsor Dukes, Rick Hansen Hurricanes, Robert Bateman Timberwolves

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Gridiron's Week 8

Week 8, 2014

Week Seven In Review

A busy weekend of ball with statement games from Argyle, Abbottsford, Mission, Hugh Boyd and Ballenas.  The Pipers played great ball en-route to defeating Barsby on its home turf.  This program is now playing at a level it has not experienced before and the air has to smell pretty fresh for em.  Big divisional games await vs Carson and Ballenas however.  Abbey continued to roll vs G.W. Graham, the Roadrunners picked-up a quality win vs Pitt, Boyd served notice that it is the class of the South and Ballenas steamrolled on the ground for another consecutive week.    Up North, PGSS gave powerhouse Duchess Park all it could handle coming-up just short while Nanaimo District got a quality win on the Island.  Carson Graham had an epic rivalry game vs Handsworth that was a pure rollercoaster of entertainment.  Vernon, chugged along in the interior with another lopsided win.

Week 7 Scores


Duchess Park 26 Correlieu 13


Robert Bateman 37 Earl Marriot 0
Vernon37 Salmon Arm 12
Westsyde 38 Valleyview 6
Nanaimo District 34 Sentinel 6
Mission 33 Pitt Meadows 13
Argyle 13 John Barsby 12
Seaquam 28 Moscrop 8
Nechako Valley 28 Kelley Road 0
Duchess Park 21 Prince George 16
Hugh Boyd 41 Frank Hurt 0
Abbottsford 40 G.W. Graham 24


Ballenas 41 Windsor 6
Carson Graham 49 Handsworth 48
Clarence Fulton 28 South Kamloops 12

GI's AA Varsity Top Five

1. Vernon Panthers
2. Mission Roadrunners
3. Argyle Pipers
4. Abbottsford Panthers
5. Ballenas Whalers

Honourable Mention

John Barsby Bulldogs, Carson Graham Eagles, Hugh Boyd Trojans, Duchess Park Condors

GI's Picks

Nanaimo District @ Mission:  The Islanders have stepped-up their game over the course of the season and have done themselves proud.  They travel this year to play Mission and the dynamic Jesse Walker.  Defending the run has been the achilles heel for this crew though they have improved.  They will surely be tested by the Roadrunners. GI's Pick: Mission by 25 plus.

Carson Graham @ Argyle:  Both teams are coming off of emotional wins from this past weekend. Healthy rosters and depth will have a big, big say on the field come Friday.  I like the Carson offense to be a difference maker in this one as they are very balanced and score quickly and in bunches. Argyle needs to stalemate the special teams battle and score more than 24 points to win this game. GI's Pick:   Carson Graham in an upset by 5

John Barsby @ Windsor: Barsby is on the road for the first time this year and it is against a tough Windsor crew playing on their home turf.  It is a bounce back game for both teams coming off of tough losses this past weekend.  Look for this to be a defensive struggle early on. GI's Pick: Barsby by 7

Abbottsford @ Robert Bateman: This is another of the great Valley rivalry games.  Both programs have had up and down years against one another with the rosters very familiar with one another. Abbottsford is really hitting its stride right now and this does not bode well for the Timberwolves.  Look for a decent number of points on the board come Friday with the Panthers ultimately prevailing. GI's Pick: Abbey by 11

Holy Cross @ Moscrop: Judging by October scores thus far, this should be an interesting game to watch.  Moscrop got off to a good start this year and then has produced inconsistent play.  Cross is still trying to figure out the recipe for consistent wins as well. GI's Pick: Crusaders by 9

Vernon @ Westsyde: The Kamloops squad wearing blue has been a pleasant surprise this year!  These guys have put together some good performances in conference play.  Vernon however is playing football at a whole different level and ought to cruise through this game like a plow through fresh powder. GI's Pick: Vernon by 25 plus.

South Kamloops @ Salmon Arm: The Golds are playing more consistent, quality ball than SKS.  Home field advantage and a stronger running game will be paydirt for the hosts. GI's Pick:Golds by 11

Clarence Fulton @ Valleyview: I like the ever improving Maroons in this one as their game seems to be more complete in all three phases. GI's Pick: Fulton by 12

Rick Hansen @ Pitt Meadows: Hansen has had some great quality prep time for this contest and Pitt is coming off of several bruising contests of its own.  This one will go down to the wire with Hansen picking up the W with a healthier roster. GI's Pick: Hurricanes by 6


Frank Hurt @ Seaquam: It would seem that Seaquam has a bit of belief in their hearts after last week vs Moscrop.  The Hornets run the ball reasonably well however and that is a problem this year for the Seaquam defense. This will be a close, close game that comes down to eliminating big plays either way.  GI's Pick: Hornets by 3

Ballenas @ Sentinel: Sentinel is playing on its home field which is absolutely huge for them. Ballenas is running the ball better than any time since 2008 and there is a swagger that comes with this kind of physicality.  I just do not see enough depth on the Spartan roster to slow down the Whaler juggernaut. GI's Pick: Whalers by 25 plus.
JV AA Top Five

1. Abbottsford
2. G.W. Graham
3. Mission
4. Duchess Park
5. Ballenas

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Gridiron's Week Seven

Week Six In Review

It was Old School Smash Mouth Football between neighborhood rivals Nanaimo District and John Barsby
Friday Night! 
This was a big week that saw a new number one emerge provincially and divisional races heat-up! The big news is my new number one.  The Vernon Panthers! It has been a singular pleasure watching the rise of this program since 2011.  The Panthers have compiled a series of consecutive winning seasons at JV and Varsity and each year have fielded a more complete unit than the previous season. This team/program has great depth and I believe, may be the first Interior/North team to run the table since the old Kam High Red Devils of yore.  That is saying a lot, because we are talking three decades and change here!!  Keep an eye on these guys, Vegas is going wild on em.  Up north, the Prince George Polars set the stage for a first place showdown with divisional powerhouse Duchess Park by steamrolling to a second consecutive lopsided win over Nechako Valley.  I'd love to have a seat at Masich Park to watch this one go down!  Pitt Meadows, down three starters up-front, hammered its way to a 14-0 shutout of Robert Bateman.  This puts the Marauders in position to challenge the resident Lords of the East Conference Mission Roadrunners for first place in that gritty division.  Mission had a stellar first half vs G.W. Graham building a 26-0 lead and coasting to a 26-6 win over the Grizzlies.  I now think I may have to sit back at GI's HQ and watch live drone feeds of the big game up north and this one come the weekend.  The Southern Conference which looked to be a bit of a bust a short two weeks ago now has signs of fight with Hugh Boyd racking impressive wins this week and last.  The Trojans have a HUGE face-off versus the Frank Hurt Hornets next week and again, time to send-up another drone to get some real-time video this tilt.  Exciting as hec I say!  Out West, Argyle earned itself a program milestone by defeating  a varsity Windsor squad for the first time in program history.  The Pipers are licking their chops for a crack at Barsby next Friday and a second big milestone.  In Nanaimo, the Islanders and Bulldogs squared off in a superb, physical contest Friday night.  The score was close for three quarters before roster depth and fatigue had its say.  A lot of mutual respect was earned at the 2014 Ray Kocher Classic football game.

Vernon HC Coach Smith speaks with Howard Tsmurra:

Week 6 Scores


Prince George 30 Correlieu 6


Vernon 53 Valleyview 7
Pitt Meadows 14 Robert Bateman 0
Argyle 21 Windsor 7
Clarence Fulton 48 Salmon Arm 22
Prince George 40 Nechako Valley 0
John Barsby 39 Nanaimo District 6
Mission 26 G.W. Graham 6
Hugh Boyd 38 Moscrop 6
Kelley Road 60 College Heights 10
Vernon 53 Valleyview 7
Abbottsford 63 Samuel Roberts 0


Carson Graham 40  Sentinel 6
Seaquam 33 Holy Cross 25

GI's Top 5

1. Vernon Panthers
2. Mission Roadrunners
3. John Barsby Bulldogs
4. Ballenas Whalers
5. Carson Graham Eagles

Honourable Mention

Argyle Pipers, Pitt Meadows Marauders, Duchess Park Condors, Hugh Boyd Trojans, Abbottsford Panthers

GI's Picks


Correlieu @ Duchess Park:  This game will be a great tune-up for the Condors heading into a short week of practice before the big game vs PGSS.  Time to get some bugs out of the system, roll the bench good and get focused on the task ahead.  GI's Pick: Black and Gold by 42


Sentinel @ Nanaimo District:  I really like the match-ups here!  This game should go down to the wire.  Having seen both teams in action, the aerial dogfight should be reminiscent of The Battle Of Britain!  On the ground it is going to be fast and furious.  The Sentinel run defense is very good and it will have to be as the Islander run game is sneaky fast.  GI's Pick: Islanders by 2

Pitt Meadows @ Mission: If this game could be played exclusively between the hash marks I'd call it a complete toss-up.  It won't be however, and this is problematic for Pitt as they face the most dynamic player in AA Varsity play.  There will be some good banging for sure and Mission will be tested physically on defense, but the Marauders will have as much chance of tracking down the Mission athlete as they would chasing a laser pointer around the field.  GI's Pick: Mission by 21

Salmon Arm @ Vernon:  How many consecutive weeks can Vernon hang fifty plus points on its opponent?  Not sure, but add this one to the total. The Panthers are surging in every phase of the game and may kick-it into an even higher gear on Friday.  GI's Pick: Vernon by 41

Earl Marriot @ Robert Bateman:  The Timberwolves are looking to reclaim some lost momentum and the Mariners are just what the doctor ordered.   This game will be a track-meet in an autumn setting. GI's Pick: Bateman by 30 plus

Seaquam @ Moscrop: If you are looking for some wide-open football entertainment, gaze no further than this tilt.  Both teams like to open it up offensively, both have surrendered a lot of points to date, and both squads are evenly matched.  Football is fun in such scenarios.  GI's Pick: Moscrop by 4

Argyle@ John Barsby: This battle between undefeateds will likely be just that, a battle.  Both teams are run-pass balanced and both teams play a physical brand of defense.  I give the edge up front to Argyle and a small special teams edge to Barsby.  Two years ago these rosters met at JV producing one of the most epic games I have ever seen.  Barsby got by with some trickery against some inexperience.  That inexperience no longer exists.  This game will be close. GI's Pick: Barsby by 3

Kelley Road @ Nechako Valley:  The Roadrunners can well, run, run, run the football.  They are bigger, stronger and faster than their hosts.  GI's Pick: Roadrunners by 19

Prince George @ Duchess Park: The Polars have made huge strides this year in all phases of the game.  The roster is experienced and the second most physical/talented in the North Division. Problem for them is the fact that they are playing the most physical/talented group in the division. Duchess is hungry for a test and I am sure that no one on the squad is looking past cross-town rival PGSS.  GI's Pick: Condors by 18

Valleyview @ Westsyde: Tough one to call.  I picked against Westsyde a couple weeks back and they served me crowe on a platter.  Valleyview is coming off of a nightmare game vs Vernon and is likely a bit tenderized.  GI's Pick: Westsyde by 3

Abbottsford @ G.W. Graham:  This is going to be fun, fun, fun and quite frankly, drone-worthy.  These teams always play each other tough and a playoff seed is on the line.  There are great match-ups across the board and contrasting styles of play.  The fans will be out in droves and the pads a cracking.  GI's Pick: Grizzlies by 2

Frank Hurt @ Hugh Boyd: This is probably the best Hugh Boyd squad since the middle of the first decade of the 2000's.  There is momentum and importantly, experience and roster depth.  The Hornets have sustained a decent level of play the past several years and are on track for more of the same. The Trojan Defense will be the difference maker on Friday.  GI's Pick: Trojans by 8

Rick Hansen @ Samuel Roberts: SRT is coming off of a nightmare defensive outing vs Abbey and could very well get fed more of the same by the Hurricanes on Friday.  Hansen put up points against a very good Mission team earlier this season and has had a bye week to prepare.  GI's Pick: Hansen by 33


South Kamloops @ Clarence Fulton: The Maroons seem to be finding their offensive and defensive selves.  South Kamloops is a bit of an enigma.  GI's Pick: Fulton by 12

Windsor @ Ballenas: This is an intriguing game.  Windsor can throw the ball pretty well and Ballenas defensively, has found it's 2014 defensive struggles to be in that area.  Offensively, the Ballenas offensive line continues to be amongst the best in AA.  This bodes well for late fall games on grass and in the weather.  Special teams are a toss-up. GI's Pick: Ballenas by 14

Handsworth (AAA) @ Carson Graham: The Buchannan Bowl has not been derailed by the events of 2014.  Good!  This rivalry game will be another dandy.  Carson has the deeper roster and is really hitting its stride.  Look for a big day on the ground for the Eagles.  GI's Pick: Carson by 7


GI's Top 5

1. G.W. Graham
2. Abbottsford
3. Mission
4. Duchess Park
5. Ballenas

Monday, October 6, 2014

Gridiron\s Week Six

AA Varsity Week Six

Much was revealed this past weekend in tilts across the province.  In the East it looks like Pitt has secured the inside track to at least the number two seed which is going to put Grizzlies and Panthers into a collision course for a 3-4 seed determining dust-up.  Out West, Ballenas took a big step towards solidifying a number two seed with a solid run based victory over Nanaimo District.  Carson Graham served notice that they are playing for all the marbles with a decisive win over Windsor. The Vernon Panthers and Duchess Park Condors won convincingly again in Interior/Northern Play.  Both teams appear to be "The Real Deal".  The South is also taking shape with Frank Hurt and Hugh Boyd playing statement games!  I dined on some crowe for sure with the Hornets defeating the Crusaders!  More Crowe served-up on Saturday as well with the Westsyde crew earning a big feather in their caps en-route to taking down the Clarence Fulton Maroons.  You just never know what is going to happen these days in AA Varsity Ball!


John Barsby Bulldogs 37 Sentinel 0
Ballenas Whalers 62 Nanaimo District Islanders 24
Vernon Panthers 55 South Kamloops Titans 16
Pitt Meadows Marauders 27 G.W. Graham Grizzlies 26
Duchess Park Condors 42 Nechako Valley Vikings 8
Robert Bateman 35 Samuel Roberts Technical Titans 6
Mission 52-Rick Hansen 26
Hugh Boyd 22-Seaquam 7
Frank Hurt 19-Holy Cross 18
Westsyde 32-Clarence Fulton 30

GI's Top Five

1. John Barsby Bulldogs
2. Mission Roadrunners
3. Vernon Panthers
4. Carson Graham Eagles
5. Argyle Pipers

Honourable Mention

Ballenas Whalers, Duchess Park Condors, Holy Cross Crusaders, Pitt Meadows Marauders

GI's Picks


John Barsby @ Nanaimo District: This game features two offenses that have found an appreciation for the forward pass in 2014.  Last week they combined for over 70 attempts and 8 TD's via the air vs their respective opponents.  I see no reason for this pattern to change looking at the rosters!  Another big byline is the fact that many players on both rosters have competed against one another since age 10.  This will be the final tilt between the two groups of Sr.'s before they graduate and hopefully become teammates on some future next level squad.  Win or lose, the football experience has been richer for having one another to play.  GI's Pick: Barsby by 20

Valleyview @ Vernon: This could be Vernon's biggest test in divisional play.  The Panthers have the dominant roster and depth at all positions however and should pound their way into the endzone frequently enough to be leading big by mid-third quarter.  GI's Pick: Panthers by 27

Pitt Meadows @ Robert Bateman:  This game will be fairly close for the first half and then the Pitt running game will assert itself physically and on the scoreboard.  Look for a few trick plays by Bateman early on to try to even things out, but |I just don't see a W on their horizon come Friday. GI's Pick: Pitt by 17

Argyle @ Windsor: Green field, green uniforms, a splash of, we are not calling this the Acorn Squash Bowl.  This would have been one of this season's "toss-up" games had not the Windsor QB suffered an unfortunate setback vs Carson this past weekend.   This said, both teams are very, very well coached and match-up pretty well at key positions.  Roster depth and overall size go to Argyle and this, combined with a healthy roster will be decisive as the Pipers look to secure their first win against the Varsity Dukes in program history.  Windsor will keep the game close defensively and I see a few interceptions on the horizon for this unit.  Won't be enough.  GI's Pick: Argyle by 12

Westsyde @ South Kamloops: The Titans have historically dominated this game and this will be a new chapter in that book.  Look for lots of scores via the air and ground come Friday.  GI's Pick: South Kamloops by 23

Kelly Road @ College Heights: Good match-up Friday in PG. I like the Roadrunner run game in this one to be decisive.  GI's Pick: Kelly Road by 14

Clarence Fulton @ Salmon Arm: The Maroons are getting better week to week.  They will need to be on top of things as they travel to play the always tough Salmon Arm squad.  GI's Pick: Golds by 6

Nechako Valley @ Prince George:  Prince George had a pretty good JV season in 2013 and it will now really start gaining traction.  Look for the Polars to assert themselves physically en route to a big W for the program.  GI's Pick: PG by 13

Samuel Roberts @ Abbottsford:  SRT is just plain outmatched at every position and in terms of roster depth.  Abbottsford is rounding into playoff form and is playing in front of the home fans.  GI's Pick: Abbey by 22

Mission @ G.W. Graham:  There will be a very, very big crowd on hand for this game.  Graham varsity has existed in Mission's shaddow since the inception of the Grizzly program.  It is no secret in the Valley or the rest of the province for that matter that the natural challenger to Mission in terms of being the top-rail program out that way is G.W. Graham.  These players know each other and it comes down to a one shot deal for Grizzly redemption.  Graham has all the pieces to pull off an upset.  Big question, can they prepare thoroughly enough and sustain the focus and effort upsetwhat is possibly BC's best AA squad?  I am not betting on it. GI's Pick: Roadrunners by 26


Carson Graham @ Sentinel: This game will be very physical up front and will come down to who has the most consistent running game.  Both teams pass and defend the pass quite well.  Carson wins the roster depth game hands down and in my opinion, can run the ball better.  Look for things to be close for a quarter and then the game to be broken wide open in the second.  GI's Pick: Carson by 31

Seaquam @ Holy Cross: I like the Crusaders in this one.  They are in better shape and they can pound the ball much more effectively than their opponents.  Holy Cross is beginning to round into playoff form and this will be demonstrated in convincing fashion come Saturday.  GI's Pick: Crusaders by 21

AA JV Rankings

1. G.W. Graham Grizzlies
2. Abbottsford Panthers
3. Mission Roadrunners
4. Duchess Park Condors
5. John Barsby Bulldogs

Honourable Mention

Ballenas Whalers, Vernon Panthers, Seaquam Seahawks, Carson Graham Eagles

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Grid Iron's Picks Week Five

Here We Go!

Well, well, the strike is over and the week 4 ripple to follow has ended.  We are back at er in earnest now and this is good, very, very good.  I am going to start this thing small, and see how the energies flow.  At some point, there will be a piece on the whole thing we just went through, along with some other thoughts on the state of High School Football as a whole.  It would seem that there are some long-term concerns/distractions, but I digress.

GI's AA Varsity Top Five

1. John Barsby Bulldogs: The Dawgs have a ferocious defense and are quite balanced offensively.  Special teams are better than average as well.  There is roster numbers and as the season unfolds, increasing depth as a large group of players who are new to the game, gain experience.  I think week to week the Dawgs need to get more of the #2's on the field before I am convinced another run at the big game is a big possibility.  There will be an increasing number of tests for this crew in the remaining weeks of the regular season.  People bring their A game against Barsby and there are some very, very good teams that could ruin an otherwise perfect Dawg Day afternoon!

2. Mission Roadrunners: The best pure athlete in AA ball resides here.  What makes him scary is that his technical ability matches the athleticism.  What makes this team scary is the outstanding supporting cast, the fact they have all been in the same system since they first put on a HS uniform and the terrific coaching.   Two years ago, the JV Roadrunners didn't come close to faltering en-route to a BC Championship.  The JV's will be on hand to add an extra push come mid-playoff tourney. Look out BC!!

3. Vernon Panthers: Perhaps the most complete roster in all of AA ball.  Vernon has been a consistent winner for the past three seasons and in my opinion, this is the best team it has fielded in program history.  This could be a team playing in the big game come December!

4. Abbottsford Panthers: Abbey is getting better week to week and is can match-up against all comers in terms of roster size and depth.

5. Argyle Pipers: Breakthrough year for Argyle. Loaded with talent and playing consistent, aggressive and opportunistic ball.  Lots of scores off of turnovers! They have yet to encounter the meat of their schedule, but have the horses to ride through it.

Honourable Mention/On The Horizon (in no particular order)

Carson Graham Eagles: These guys looked dang good against Ballenas for three quarters.  Once the cobwebs are gone, the Eagles will surely soar!

Pitt Meadows Marauders: This is a group of tough-nuts who like to run the football rain or shine. Their defense is a reflection of the offensive mentality and there is good size up front.  Come the rains of November, they will be tough.

Duchess Park Condors: Now a seasoned program, the Black and Gold is ascendent!  Perhaps the second best squad north of Hope.

Holy Cross Crusaders: The Crusaders are tough, making progress and will peak entering the playoffs.

Ballenas Whalers: A bit short benched, but in possession of one of the elite offensive lines in AA Varsity ball. This crew will improve week-to-week.

Windsor Dukes: I can't wait to see what emerges out of the mists of North Van this year.  It will be a green crew for all of a week and then improve possibly faster than any other crew in the province thereafter.

GW Graham Grizzlies: These guys have it all.  Can they put the puzzle together for a playoff run?

Sentinel Spartans: Big, tough dudes up front.  A massive improvement over 2013 in all positions.

GI's Picks


Sentinel @ John Barsby:  Both teams are coming off of a bye and would appear to be healthy at this juncture.  Sentinel was a couple turnovers and some field position away from upsetting arch rival and budding powerhouse Arglyle two weeks ago.  Barsby, played its most complete game of the season against Ballenas.  The size advantage in this game goes to the Spartans.  They have a hyper aggressive pair of defensive ends that can take over a game if given the chance.  Numbers and experience go to Barsby along with home field advantage.  GI's Pick: Barsby by 16 in a tighter contest than many may expect.

Windsor @ Carson Graham:  Carson has one more game under their belt than the Dukes.  The difference between playing game 1 and game 2 is manifest for most HS teams.  Coach Schuman mitigates that somewhat, but not enough to prevail in this one.  I think turnovers and big plays offensively will rule the day in Eagle Land.  GI's Pick: Eagles by 16

Nanaimo District @ Ballenas:  The Islanders usually play Ballenas pretty tough.  The true difference in this game is going to be the Whaler Offensive Line.  One of the best in BC, this crew will be plowing the way for several blue collar type running backs.  I like the backfield speed and talent at receiver for Nanaimo, but this will be a slower, dirt track come Friday.  GI's Pick: Whalers by 22

S.R.T. @ Robert Bateman:  Batemen get the edge in experience to date this season.  S.R.T. will still be working out the kinks when they run into a hungry Timberwolf squad eager to secure a divisional playoff seed.  Too much for the Titans to handle too early.  GI's Pick: Bateman by 24

Vernon @ South Kamloops: South Kamloops is playing its toughest game of the regular season come Friday.  The offensive juggernaut of the Panthers will be supported by a superb run-stopping defense. Roster depth most certainly goes to Vernon.  GI's Pick: Vernon by 26

Valleyview @ Salmon Arm: Intriguing.  Tough to tell what Salmon Arm will bring to the table in 2014.  Valleyview is several years into its offense and has roster continuity.  I have to give a tip of the hat to the Vikings in this one based on what I know.  GI's Pick: Valleyview by 10 in a game where both coaches will be stomping on their hats over turnovers.

Duchess Park @ Nechako Valley:  This used to be a prime match-up in the Northern Conference. Right now, it seems that Duchess Park has no rival at the top of the heap in their division.  By ground and air I see this as a big one on the scoreboard.  GI's Pick: Duchess by 26

G.W. Graham @ Pitt Meadows: Game of the week in my books.  The match-ups up front are superb and the team speed is similar.  Graham has to play their most complete game of the year to have a legit shot at winning though.  I think Pitt has been more on top of their game and can pound the ball offensively inside the tackles as good as anyone in the province.  Defensively, stopping the big play via the air will be job one for the Marauders (love that team nickname!!).  GI's Pick: Pitt by 9


Westsyde @ Clarence Fulton: The Maroons have owned this game since the last glaciation and I see no reason for them relinquish their dominance.  This will be a run heavy game that sees Fulton pull away by mid-second quarter.  GI's Pick: Fulton by 19

Holy Cross @ Frank Hurt:  Holy Cross is a solid squad all around and will be one everyone should keep an eye on come weeks 8, 9 and 10 this season.  They truly "Get Better" week-to-week. Divisional rival Frank Hurt will have its hands full defensively and fine that it is tough sledding trying to run the football.  Rain on Saturday will make things all the more difficult.  GI's Pick: Crusaders by 19

Hugh Boyd @ Seaquam: Big game already for both teams in terms of playoff seeding.  Seaquam can score alright, but keeping opponents off of the board has been problematic.  Boyd gives up size up front in this contest, but has a slight edge in team speed.  The Seahawks have much more playing experience this year than the Trojans.  If Troy can spy the screen game and prevent the deep pass, this will be tight indeed.  GI's Pick: Boyd by 4

AA JV Rankings

AA Top 5

  1. G.W. Graham Grizzlies
  2. Abbottsford Panthers
  3. Mission Roadrunners
  4. Duchess Park Condors
  5. John Barsby Bulldogs

Honourable Mention

Ballenas Whalers, Seaquam Seahawks, Carson Graham Eagles