Following a lost football season, the Barsby Bulldogs got back on the gridiron this fall and made the very most of it.
John Barsby Secondary School’s AA junior varsity team won the Coastal championship at the Subway Bowl at B.C. Place on Saturday, Dec. 4, defeating the Carson Graham Eagles 34-28.
Barsby’s juniors went into the game undefeated and dominant, having hardly trailed in any football game all season, but the Eagles rose to the occasion and made it a thriller.
Barsby coach Rob Stevenson said his team showed “terrific resiliency” in a game that felt like it would come down to whichever team had the ball last.
“We might have been behind once all year and this one, it was going back and forth,” he said. “There was no finger pointing, heads were up, focused on the job. The guys just played their hearts out and they showed a lot of poise.”
It wasn’t a typical game day for the Bulldogs, who had an early wake-up call to make the 5:15 a.m. ferry off the Island. Stevenson said the Barsby community showed up in force and helped make it feel like a home game in the dome.
The Bulldogs were led offensively Saturday by Rhondé Lyle, who scored two rushing touchdowns and also caught a 27-yard passing TD from quarterback Cohen Cadieux. Colton Finstad and Kai Rednour-Bruckman also had touchdown runs and Jonny Durkan’s interception at his own 12-yard line with two minutes left helped Barsby seal the win.
Lyle was chosen MVP of the final and fullback Carson Corbett-Smith was also recognized with an individual award for his play in the trenches. Sowani Nakuna accepted the championship trophy for Barsby’s leadership group.
The Coastal championship was the top prize to be won this year as COVID-19 altered the league’s alignment. It was a reward for the players who waited more than 500 days between meaningful snaps, and for a team that basically started fresh with football and finished on top.
“One hundred per cent turnout throughout the year, and improvement,” Stevenson said. “The kids got better and better and better and the future’s bright as a result.”