John Barsby Secondary School’s junior varsity and AA varsity football teams practise alongside one another as both teams get ready for playoff football this week. The juniors kick off the playoffs Wednesday, Nov. 14, while the seniors play their quarterfinal matchup on Saturday, Nov. 17. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Barsby Bulldogs, after a long break, await playoff football

John Barsby Secondary’s junior and senior football teams host playoff games this week in Nanaimo

The playoffs are finally arriving after a long wait.

The Barsby Bulldogs are getting ready to play their first game action in more than three weeks on Saturday, when they face the G.W. Graham Grizzlies in AA varsity football action in Nanaimo.

The reason for the long layoff is that the John Barsby Secondary School boys had their bye week the last week of the regular season, by which time they’d already earned a first-round bye. So they’ve just continued to practise, get better and bide their time.

“We’ve been working on fundamentals. We did what we do – we kept to our practice schedule,” said Rob Stevenson, Barsby coach. “Our scheme is set, our team is set, so it’s a matter of going back to elementary school with all your fundamentals, trying to be better football players.”

They’ll be taking on an opponent that is fresh from a post-season win last weekend. The Grizzlies are coming off a huge 59-6 thrashing of Kelly Road in first-round playoff action last Saturday. Graham was effective with its passing game in that one and Barsby is expecting more “air raid” from the opposition this week.

“We’ve got to take away all the easy throws, be real disciplined with your coverages and being where you’re supposed to be on the football field, make sure you pressure that quarterback enough so he isn’t just sitting back there playing sandlot football on you,” Stevenson said. “Offensively, we’ve got to get after them, make them defend the whole field widthwise and vertically and don’t be predictable.”

Stevenson said at this time of year, the motivation to get better and get ready is balanced by the motivation that it’s playoffs and must-win time.

“You’ve got to have that mentality that there isn’t a next week unless you earn a next week. So we impress that upon them,” he said.

GAME ON … The John Barsby Bulldogs host the G.W. Graham Grizzlies on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 12:30 p.m. at Merle Logan Field. Barsby’s junior varsity squad hosts Pitt Meadows in playoff action on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 2:30 p.m., also at Merle Logan Field.

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