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.
Gridiron's AA Varsity Top 5
1. Vernon Panthers
2. Mission Roadrunners
3. Carson Graham Eagles
4. Ballenas Whalers
5. John Barsby Bulldogs
Pitt Meadows Marauders, Abbottsford Panthers. Hugh Boyd Trojans, Duchess Park Condors. Argyle Pipers
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
Nanaimo District Islanders, Windsor Dukes, Rick Hansen Hurricanes, Robert Bateman Timberwolves