The Barsby Bulldogs are back-to-back champs.
John Barsby Secondary School’s AA varsity football team defeated the Mission Roadrunners 36-20 in Saturday’s Subway Bowl provincial championship at B.C. Place stadium.
The ‘Dawgs brought their best to the big game. Quarterback North Rainey said the Subway Bowl was the best game his team has played.
“We played a full team game…” he said. “We were not playing for ourselves to win a championship, we played for our team to win a championship.”
The Bulldogs got off to a blazing start. They built a 21-0 lead before the Roadrunners got on the board, then took a 24-7 advantage into halftime.
The Bulldogs pounded the opposition and dominated time of possession with a relentless rushing attack. Barsby’s backs totalled 373 rush yards.
“We stuck to our scheme,” said Josh Goldston, offensive lineman. “Our backs found holes and they were amazing today.”
Trentyn Anderson, Bulldogs running back, said the O-line “blocked like crazy” on Saturday.
“They gave the running backs a hole here, a hole there,” he said. “You’ve just got to shoot that thing and see how far you can make it.”
It was textbook Barby football, it was exactly what was expected, and yet it couldn’t be stopped. Rob Stevenson, the team’s coach, said the Bulldogs try to get double teams and down blocks up front and then pull the rest of the team through.
“You need 3.34 yards per carry and you’re going to keep rolling those sticks down the sideline…” he said. “That’s the way we play football at John Barsby and once it gets rolling, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s fun to watch.”
Mission’s star player Jesse Walker was kept in check for the most part as Barsby stacked the box against the QB.
“What we wanted to do was play the percentages and make him play football in a phone booth as much as we could and get our pads on him,” said Stevenson.
Walker said the Bulldogs were better prepared and seemed to want it more, firing off the ball and making plays.
“They keyed on me and they brought all their guys after me,” he said. “They played us smart. They played as a better team today.”
Anderson opened the scoring 10 minutes into the game, breaking through after a criss-cross for a 25-yard major.
Kieren Carreck extended the margin on a six-yard TD run on the first play of the second quarter, then a fumble recovery by Xin Wei (Ethan) Hong led to a 15-yard passing TD from Rainey to Chris DeGoutiere. Walker scored a TD on a five-yard run, but the Bulldogs marched down the field and Etienne Kessler-Martinez kicked a short field goal on the last play of the half.
In the third quarter the QBs traded rushing touchdowns, as Walker, then Rainey, then Walker again ran for major scores.
DeGoutiere caught a 22-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter and though the Roadrunners put together a drive, they turned the ball over on downs with seven and a half minutes left and never got the ball back.
Cole Virtanen was named the game’s MVP, Rainey was chosen as outstanding back and Goldston was outstanding lineman. Virtanen had 22 carries for 145 yards and Anderson had 17 carries for 130 yards. Rainey was 9-for-10 passing for 64 yards and added 65 rush yards. DeGoutiere had eight catches for 52 yards.
Traditional wisdom says it’s tough to repeat as champions in high school football considering that half the team graduates every year. But Barsby found a way to be the best, back to back.
“It’s being true to who you are and what you do,” Stevenson said. “The group of athletes you have right there is what you’ve got, so you give them all you’ve got and you stay inside of yourself and you try to get a little bit better each day.”
The Bulldogs realized early in the season that they had to try to be the best team, said the coach, because they didn’t have the biggest guys or the best athletes.
“We weren’t going to run over anybody, or past anybody, we were just going to have do it using our own unique strengths,” he said. “As the season progressed, they bought in more and more, to this point, where we’re standing with a big grin on our face.”