The Barsby Bulldogs are back in the B.C. final.
John Barsby Secondary School’s AA varsity football team won its semifinal matchup 36-14 against the Vernon Panthers on Saturday, Nov. 26, in Vancouver, and have earned a spot in next weekend’s Subway Bowl B.C. championship.
Rob Stevenson, Barsby coach, said the win against Vernon was the “most complete team performance of the year” for the Bulldogs with all facets of the game working.
The Panthers had some high-skill players, but couldn’t match the Bulldogs’ depth as the game wore on.
Rhondé Lyle scored two rushing touchdowns for Barsby and Cohen Cadieux passed for two touchdowns, one a 31-yard connection with Kai Rednour-Bruckman and the other an eight-yard throw to Jonny Durkan. Cesare Rednour Bruckman rushed for Barsby’s other major.
The win earns the Bulldogs a trip back to B.C. Place stadium in Vancouver to face the Robert Bateman Timberwolves on Saturday, Dec. 3. The two teams met early in the year in Harewood, a game the visitors won 38-34. Bateman is undefeated and has been AA varsity’s highest-scoring team.
Stevenson said the Bulldogs will have to be disciplined in the defensive backfield and play their scheme to its potential.
“Their passing game is so complex that you’re not going to be able to stop everything. We just want to narrow down the percentages by being in the right place,” he said.
On the other side of the ball, the ‘Dawgs will need “balance, balance, balance,” the coach said.
“We have to be able to run, pass, screen at any given time – we can’t be predictable.”
Stevenson said some teams make the mistake at playoff time of trying to outsmart the opponent by adding too much to the playbook and slowing down everybody’s feet. Barsby will try for addition by subtraction and focus on the plays they think can work against Bateman. The ‘Dawgs will maintain their practice routines and prepare as they would for any other game, though they understand that reaching this stage of football season is something special.
“When you’re coming home to Christmas lights on your front lawn after practice, you know you’ve gotten pretty deep into the playoffs…” Stevenson said. “It’s a neat buzz in the hallway. Everybody knows they’ve gotten to where they want to get and we’ve got one more big push.”
GAME ON … The John Barsby Bulldogs and Robert Bateman Timberwolves kick off Saturday, Dec. 3, at 4 p.m. at B.C. Place stadium.