Thursday, September 29, 2016

AA Varsity Week 4

Gridiron's Top Five

1. Seaquam SeaHawks
2. Vernon Panthers
3. Hugh Boyd Trojans
4. Ballenas Whalers
5. G.W. Graham Grizzlies

GI's Picks

Friday, 30 September

Frank Hurt @ John Barsby:  Frank Hurt travels to the Island for a tough one vs the John Barsby Bulldogs.  The Hornets are running and throwing well of late and will compete for sure.  Barsby has been close to hitting the win column in weeks two and three, but has fallen short.  Look for hungry squads taking the field Friday afternoon.  GI's Pick: Barsby by 10

Holy Cross @ Handsworth (AAA): This game will be a real test for the Crusaders as their hosts are quietly putting together one of their better seasons since 2010.  Handsworth will have the size advantage and they pass better than the visitors.  The HC running game is potent however so this could be a close affair.  GI's Pick: Royals by 9

Correlieu @ Nechako Valley:  The crew from Vanderhoof is off to a good start and I see no reason for them to falter this week vs the visiting Clansmen of Quesnel.  This will be a big day for the Viking offense.  GI's Pick: Nechako Valley by 18 plus.

South Kamloops @ Salmon Arm:  Big game in the Interior!  Salmon Arm ought to run and pass its way to victory on Friday.  I don't see the Titan defense being able to slow em down.  GI's Pick: Golds by 14

Windsor @ Hugh Boyd:  This contest is a co-"game of the week" pick in my books.  Two veteren coaching staffs with plenty of experience against one another bring two good squads on to the playing field to contest the W.  The line of scrimmage goes to Hugh Boyd and the so called-skill positions to Windsor.  In either case the difference is not too huge to overcome.  Big plays, defending big plays and roster depth are going to be decisive in this game.  GI's Pick: Hugh Boyd wears em down in the second half....Trojans by 9

D.P. Todd @ College Heights: This game will be close.  College Heights has an edge in terms of experienced players.  GI's Pick: Cougars by 6

Westsyde @ Nanaimo District: Part two of a home and home series gets played Friday night under the lights in Nanaimo.  Westsyde won last year's contest.  Nanaimo will win this year however as they have a massive roster and plenty of experience to boot.  Look for big offensive production by the Islanders on the ground and via the air.  GI's Pick: Islanders by 17 plus.

Pitt Meadows @ Vernon: Another home and home winds up this weekend with Pitt taking the trip north.  Vernon is smarting after a big loss vs Abbey last week.  This will be just what the Dr. ordered. GI's Pick: Vernon by 18 plus.

Saturday, 1 October

Abbottsford (AAA) @ Robert Bateman: Bateman is a pleasant surprise this year!  The Timberwolves have been playing solid ball and their triple option game has been doing a great job chewing up defenses.  Abbey is a true powerhouse however and a threat to score big on every snap.  The Panthers also are big and deep up front on both sides of the ball.  GI's Pick: Panthers by 20

Howe Sound @ Valleyview:  This will be a back and forth affair.  Howe Sound has the size and roster depth in this contest.  GI's Pick: Sounders by 7

Ballenas @ Seaquam: Co-"game of the week" right here.  Seaquam has been very impressive throughout the first three weeks of the season.  Ballenas is coming off of a huge game vs Barsby and showed some great things en-route to their victory.  The match-ups: Size to Seaquam; Speed-draw; Receivers-draw; physicality, slight edge Seaquam; depth-Seaquam.  GI's Pick: SeaHawks by 10

Duchess Park @ Clarence Fulton: This is a good game for both squads.  The Maroons are on an up-year and are playing at home.  Gotta give em this one.  GI's Pick: Fulton by 11

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Week 2

2016 AA Varsity Week 2

Week One Round-Up

Seaquam got all over Langley in a game that blew wide open for the new number one.  Abbottsford didn't skip a beat from last year's Eastern dominance in its victory over AAA Mission.  Barsby got into a physical contest with AAA Mt. Douglas, ultimately coming up short but with encouraging play.  Vernon started slow and finished with a bang versus Robert Bateman and Holy Cross had a great second half against a tough Windsor squad.  Elsewhere, PGSS served notice up north that it is the team to beat, Hugh Boyd got out of the blocks with a bang vs AAA Earl Marriot and Nanaimo District got a solid W vs a plucky Spectrum squad.  G.W. Graham found itself over-matched versus a surprisingly strong AAA Handsworth squad that seems to be looking to regain form it has not seen since the mid-to late 2000's.

Week One Scores

Mt. Douglas 35 John Barsby 18
Nanaimo District 28 Spectrum 0
Prince George 39 D.P. Todd 0
Vernon 27 Robert Bateman 7
Abbottsford 34 Mission 12
Seaquam 47 Langley 14
Hugh Boyd 48 Earl Marriot 12
Handsworth 19 G.W. Graham 6
Holy Cross 41 Windsor 24
Argyle 27 Frank Hurt 7

Gridiron's Top Five

1. Seaquam SeaHawks
2. Abbottsford Panthers
3. John Barsby Bulldogs
4. Vernon Panthers
5. Holy Cross Crusaders

Honourable Mention

G.W. Graham Grizzlies, Langley Saints, Windsor Dukes, Hugh Boyd Trojans, Ballenas Whalers

GI's Picks

Friday, 16 September

Abbottsford @ Centennial (AAA): Abbey looks very good and continues a triple A pre-season with a game at Centennial this Friday.  Look for the air show to continue with the Panthers and for the defense to play tough up front versus the run.  GI's Pick: Panthers by 14

South Kamloops @ Hugh Boyd: The Trojans are coming off of a big win and are putting together the foundation for a very good season.  The visiting Titans have a long travel day before the kick-off so they may be a bit "bus legged" at the start.  I like the Trojan running game in this contest.  GI's Pick: Trojans by 12

Earl Marriot (AAA) @ Nanaimo: Great match-up for both teams.  Marriot got gashed pretty good by the run last week.  Nanaimo District runs and throws well with plenty of speed on defense.  If the Islanders can defend the deep ball, this one goes their way.  GI's Pick: Islanders by 10

Robert Bateman @ Mission (AAA): A good local tilt in the Valley!  Both teams are coming off of tough losses and are looking to get in the win column.  Mission has the preponderance of athletes in this one and has dominated the series over the years.  GI's Pick: Roadrunners by 14

Valleyview @ Eric Hamber: Another good match-up.  The visitors will run the ball hard and this game will be determined by the defensive play of each squad.  GI's Pick: Valleyview by 7

West Vancouver (AAA) @ Windsor: I was a bit taken aback by the score of the game last week between Windsor and Holy Cross.  The Dukes will be better this week, that is how they roll as a program.  West Van is playing some pretty good ball right now and will have a size advantage at the LOS.  This one will be very tight.  GI's Pick: Dukes by 1

Holy Cross @ Notre Dame (AAA): A big rivalry game here in the Catholic School Community. The Crusaders have been making strides as a program the past couple years as have the Jugglers.  Notre Dame is quite simply deeper and more talented however.  GI's Pick: Jugglers by 14

D.P. Todd @ Correllieu:  The resurrected Trojan program heads in to one of its easier games on this year's schedule with a valuable week 1 tilt against a dominant PGSS squad under its belt.  This one will be back and forth all game long.  When you are starting a program, it is the little victories along the way that count as much or more as the final score.  Getting on the scoreboard will be one of em for D.P. Todd.  Celebrate it! GI's Pick: Correllieu by 4

Langley @ Westsyde: This will be a BIG rebound game for Langley as they travel up North to play the Blue Wave.  There will be a huge chip on their shoulder after week one.  GI's Pick: Langley by 18 plus.

Duchess Park @ College Heights: Duchess played great ball at JV last season.  This year's varsity will reflect that as the Condors are a sure bet to roll come game day.  GI's Pick: Duchess by 19

Clarence Fulton @ Omak (WA): This is the Maroon's annual "team builder" to Washington State.  It is usually a 40 pt. drubbing that does in its way, propel the visitors towards bigger and better things down the road.  GI's Pick: Omak by 38

New West (AAA) @ G.W. Graham: At the start of the season I'd have hi-lited this tilt as one to see! Seasons are funny things however.  Graham got pretty chewed up health wise the past two weeks and will limp in to New Westminster on Friday.  The Hyacks are a contender for all of the AAA marbles this year.  GI's Pick: New Westminster by 24

Frank Hurt @ Pitt Meadows: Good game here!  Pitt is tough and scrappy across the roster.  Hurt is on the rise and gained some confidence playing AAA Argyle last week.  The Hornets have a deeper roster and will wear down the hosts as the game plays out.  GI's Pick: Frank Hurt by 9

Ballenas @ Belmont: These teams know each other very well, having run a "joint practice" at the end of the first week of pre-season workouts.  Belmont is for the first time in years, decisively deeper than the visitors.  The Whalers are balanced offensively and match-up pretty good on the LOS. Speed however goes to Belmont and that will be the kicker.  GI's Pick: Belmont by 17

Saturday, 17 September 

Vernon @ John Barsby: This could shape-up to being one of the best games of the weekend as the Panthers pay a visit to The Island to complete a home and home series.  Vernon did a great job throwing the ball in its week one victory vs Bateman.  Barsby ran hard and consistently vs Mt. Douglas in it's season opener.  Defensively however, Vernon did a much better job of defending the run than the Bulldogs.  This leaves room for an upset if Barsby doesn't get things fixed this week. GI's Pick: Barsby by 2 in a squeaker

Argyle (AAA) @ Seaquam: The SeaHawks are a far different squad for Argyle to face than were the Frank Hurt Hornets.  This game will be well played early by both teams with Seaquam pulling away by mid 2nd quarter.  GI's Pick: SeaHawks by 15

Prince George @ Nechako Valley: PGSS is on the road and facing a possible upset game from the host Vikings of Vanderhoof.  The Polar coaches better be all over their squad this week at practice in terms of not underestimating a well coached opponent on an up year.  GI's Pick: Polars by 9

Monday, September 5, 2016

2016 AA Varsity Week 1

GI's Week 1 Edition

Welcome back gridiron fans, coaches and players!  The 2016 season promises to be lights-out fast, furious and competitive!  It is now "Game Week" for the majority of the province and we already have a shift at the top of the rankings!

Week Zero Wrap-Up

G.W. Graham went down to Clover Park HS in Washington state just south of Tacoma and served notice that they are playing for all the marbles in BC.  The Grizzlies ran and passed impressively en-route to a 47-32 victory over the host program.  Well done!  We are all proud of you guys up here north of the 49th parallel!!

Gridiron's Top Five

1. G.W. Graham Grizzlies
2. Langley Saints
3. Seaquam SeaHawks
4. Abbottsford Panthers
5. John Barsby Bulldogs

Gridiron's Week One Picks

Friday, 9 September

Hugh Boyd @ Earl Marriot (AAA): Earl Marriot is back up at triple A ball after dominating Tier 2 for the last several seasons.  This is a great week one game for both programs.  Word has it that the Trojans have a deep and experienced offensive line this year.  You gotta love that as a coach.  All things being equal at the "skill" positions, I have to go with Boyd and their big boys up front.  GI's Pick: Trojans by 13

Seaquam @ Langley:  Very intriguing match-up here!  Both of these programs are on the rise and are early favorites to go to the Subway Bowl.  Seaquam seems to play its best football mid-to-late season and this may be a bit of a tough game for them coming out of the starting blocks.  Langley will play very balanced football offensively and I like their run game in this contest and the subsequent big plays off of play-action.  GI's Pick: Saints by 11

Mission (AAA) @ Abbottsford:  Old Eastern rivals have kept the series alive with this exhibition tilt. I have no doubt that Mission will take it's place amongst the AAA elite in the coming years, but they still have some growing to do.  The players and coaching staffs know each other well and this game will be hard fought.  Look for Abbottsford to find its running legs by the second quarter in this game. GI's Pick: Abbey by 7

Westsyde @ Southkam: The Blue Wave have been playing good football the past couple of years up in the Interior.  SouthKam has a deeper and more physical roster and this game will blow wide open mid-second quarter.  GI's Pick: Titans by 21

Robert Bateman @ Vernon: Vernon is the class of the Interior once again in 2016.  Bateman is an upper middle of the pack squad in the Eastern Conference.  Both teams play a very tough brand of football.  This game will be very physical start-to-finish.  The home team however is bigger and across the board, faster.  GI's Pick: Vernon by 14

John Barsby @ Mt. Douglas (AAA): There are no lies on the field when teams travel to play the triple A dynasty known as the Mt. Douglas Rams.  Visitors can expect to find their weaknesses exposed in a hurry.  This exhibition series is always very hard fought.  Barsby is going to have to play their A-Game to have a chance in this one.  Last week the Rams defeated Veronia HS of Oregon 40-6.  Dawgs beware.  GI's Pick: Rams by 19

PGSS @ D.P. Todd: The Trojans will have the bench numbers, but not the experience to accompany their multitudes.  The Polars are consistently playing some of the best football in the North.  They are also finding their identity as a program with power football and a defense that is a reflection of its offensive counterpart.  GI's Pick: PGSS by 22

Spectrum (Tier 2) @ Nanaimo District: Spectrum has taken big strides towards putting a competitive group on the field.  Nanaimo District has a two headed monster at the quarterback position with athletes around them up front and on the perimeter.  I think the Islanders are just too much for Spectrum to handle and the score will pile-up fast.  GI's Pick: Islanders by 20 plus.

Clarence Fulton @ Salmon Arm (AAA): The Maroons are a plucky, motivated group year in and year out.  They will bring their A game up-country to Salmon Arm.  The Golds are bigger and deeper across the board.  This will factor in, especially in the second half when the host team gets its timing down after a couple first half, week one hick-ups.  GI's Pick: Golds by 17

Saturday, 10 September

Frank Hurt @ Argyle (AAA):  Argyle is in a bit of a rebuild this year and Frank Hurt is sporting one of its better squads in recent memory.  This game will come down to turnovers and who can defend the long ball defensively.  Look for a back and forth affair with Frank Hurt posting a minor upset. GI's Pick: Hornets by 2

G.W. Graham @ Handsworth (AAA): Unless the Royals have had a significant growth spurt up front, they are in for shall we say, a crushing experience in the trenches.  This game could very quickly get one dimensional and then it will be up to the home team's quarterback to put things on his shoulders. Defensively, if the Grizzlies can play solid man coverage and avoid getting nickel and dimed, the pressure could be epic.  GI's Pick: Grizzlies by 23

Windsor @ Holy Cross:  Windsor usually starts slow and then becomes very, very good by week 4 or so.  Not this year.  The Dukes have a very experienced group who are coming off of a Championship JV season a short ten months ago.  The learning curve won't be dramatic for them and this squad will be playing at a mid-season level right out of the gates.  Holy Cross will be similar as well. Defending the Crusader run game will be key for the Dukes while the Crusaders will have to air-tight in dealing with the counters, screens, bootlegs and deep balls that are sure to come their way.  GI's Pick: Dukes by 14