Sports

Junior Bulldogs win 'epic' final

Barsby Bulldogs junior varsity players Brandon Parker, left, Nick Johnson and Ty Carson celebrate in the moments following their team
Barsby Bulldogs junior varsity players Brandon Parker, left, Nick Johnson and Ty Carson celebrate in the moments following their team's provincial championship victory at the Subway Bowl on Saturday at B.C. Place stadium. The junior 'Dawgs defeated the Mission Roadrunners 22-20.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

The Barsby Bulldogs junior varsity football program’s first provincial championship will be a memorable one.

John Barsby Community Secondary School’s juniors won the provincial championship Saturday, coming back to defeat the Mission Roadrunners, 22-20 at the Subway Bowl at B.C. Place stadium.

The ending was unforgettable. First there was a comeback by the Bulldogs, who erased an early 14-0 deficit, then came the late-game fireworks. With the Roadrunners desperate to get into field-goal range, they attempted eight straight passes. The Bulldogs knocked down enough of those balls to secure the title.

“Winning a game like that, it just makes it more of an epic experience,” said Rob Stevenson, the team’s coach.

He said his team, after travelling on the 6:30 a.m. ferry Saturday morning, took a quarter to wake up.

“Nobody quit, nobody panicked and we came roaring back,” said the coach.

Bulldogs players said even when theygot down, they stayed true to the plan, believing they could turn the game in their favour.

“This year we’ve been working a lot on bounce and there’s no quit in this team,” said Kyle Vollet, one of the Bulldogs’ players of the game.

Touchdowns from Dejon Lynch and Nick Johnson and two two-point conversions gave Barsby a 16-14 halftime lead, and they extended the margin on a 62-yard TD run by Brandon Parker in the fourth quarter.

Mission answered with a touchdown of its own to make the score 22-20, then recovered an onside kick with two minutes left. It set up a pressure-packed ending.

“In the huddle everyone was freaked out,” said Parker, Barsby’s other player of the game. “We were trying to maintain cool but it was pretty scary.”

For Vollet, Parker and many other juniors, the championship game was a rematch of 2010, when the Roadrunners won the JV title.

“They’re just a great team overall. What a fight,” said Vollet.

Parker called the championship celebrations a surreal experience.

“I can’t really fit it into words,” he said. “I’m just so glad it finally happened.”

GRID BITS … Parker had seven carries for 134 yards and Lynch had 12 carries for 87 yards. Quarterback Brody Taylor went 3-for-9 for 75 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Defensively, Vollet had 11 tackles, Trentyn Anderson made two second-half interceptions and Justin Cook and Tyler Harvey had sacks … To read about the AA varsity Bulldogs, provincial runners-up, please click here.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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