2015 Subway Bowl
Abbottsford Panthers vs Carson Graham Eagles: Fifteen short weeks ago I have to admit, I did not see this one coming. At the start of the playoff tournament, this would not have been my pick either. There is surely a reason why the games are played however and two very deserving teams are squaring off for the 2015 BC Championship! Lets get down to the analysis: Defensively, the biggest similarity between these two teams is that they attack, attack, attack. One or more blitzes are constantly being dialed-up by the respective defensive coordinators. Pressure is the game here. The offenses however are very different. Yes, both spread the field and both tend to throw the ball a lot. The run games are very different however. Carson runs the ball from sideline to sideline and though Abbey will occasionally run a bit of jet sweep, it is not the same East-West threat of the Eagle attack. The Panthers seem to prefer their draw game and a bit of counter to the wider stuff (which looked pretty sloppy early on vs Langley). Soooo, how does this play out against the attacking defenses? Well, in terms of the run game, both defenses become more vulnerable. Blitz vs Abbey and get walled out by one of their enormous (and talented) linemen and you will be paying for it by creating a big lane for the draw. You are never 100% right when you blitz, it is a calculated risk and sometimes that means a big play either way. If you are Abbey blitzing against Carson, beware the inside pressures. Carson has a very good perimeter game that gets there quickly and you can get caught in very bad inside-out pursuit situations and their resultant big plays. Run game in my opinion, Carson. The pass game goes to Abbey. They have been unrivaled this year via the air and stubbornly and effectively are not deterred. Carson's defensive heat mean's man coverage. The poison Abbey opponents have faced this year is "do ya cover 21 with two guys (only really carried off once vs G.W. Graham) and man-up or quasi zone vs the rest of the cast". Big problem as Langley found out was that the supporting cast is pretty darn exceptional themselves and can create big plays with great regularity. Abbey's QB mobility may seem an Achilles heel for their offense, but in practice, it has not been. The release is quick and the routes are so well timed that it is barely an issue. Blitzing the Panthers means a lot of man coverage and vulnerability to draw/screen. Carson, throws pretty darn good too and is the better screen team in my opinion. Abbey will be challenged. Do these teams base-up defensively and go manno et manno against one another? Hec no they don't. They are what they are and will be coming at one another all game long. Special Teams: Carson looks like they work at it more than Abbey. The Abbey field goal kicker has more range and the Eagles likely won't kick deep to 21. Punts and pressures are roughly the same. Carson's edge in terms of field position gained may be nullified by kicking short and punting out of bounds. What's left? "Want-to"? Nope, both teams want this one as much as the other. Toughness? Nope, both are tough. What then? I am going to take a stab at durability. Yep, I saw a lot of tape on ankles up front, lots of limping and some injury subs in the past couple games up front. The "trenches" will be decisive in the second half. How each team handles adversity and or the potential loss of one of their stud offensive/defensive two way players will be big. Lastly, emotion. Keeping emotions "In The Middle" as opposed to losing one's mind individually and collectively will be big in a game such as this. Seem em both up close, there is a difference here that I will keep to myself. I want to congratulate both teams, their rosters, coaching staffs and all those who come out to support on a couple of very fine seasons. AA Ball will be represented well on Saturday. GI's Pick: Abbey. By how much? Well, the players on the field will determine that outcome.