The Barsby Bulldogs need to travel a long way to go play a football game. But it’s also part of getting where the program wants to go, said Rob Stevenson, the team’s coach.
John Barsby Secondary School’s AA varsity football team takes on the Vernon Panthers on Friday, Nov. 17 in the Okanagan in the B.C. quarterfinals.
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“It’s another step in our journey as a group,” said Stevenson. “We started this year, I remember some practices with 12 seniors at them in September. And here we are, going into a B.C. quarter-final game and we’re going to have some skin in that game.”
He calls Barsby football true “small-school football,” with players in Grade 9 and 10 getting onto the field at the senior level.
“It’s a real study in the bonding and relationships across the four grades in this school,” Stevenson said. “The younger guys have got the kids they look up to, and now they’re on the sideline with them and they’re contributing and there’s a lot of pats on the back.”
Win or lose, guys are learning a lot of lessons, the coach said.
But they’re not ready to pack it in against the favoured Panthers. Stevenson predicts a “fierce competition” between two programs that have a lot of respect for each other. Even though the teams hail from different conferences, they’ve happened to meet in numerous big games over recent years.
Conditions are likely to be difficult for the ’Dawgs as they get ready to play in unfamiliar territory.
“I have to go back to growing up in Prince George and playing out in the street in the snowdrifts and use a couple of our old tricks…” said Stevenson. “It’s a different kind of cold, it’s a different kind of snow. I know how to play in those games, so hopefully we can get them ready.”