The Barsby Bulldogs are going back to the big bowl game.
John Barsby Secondary School’s AA varsity football team will have a chance to defend its provincial championship after winning its semifinal game over the Vernon Panthers on Saturday in Vancouver, 34-16.
The Bulldogs trailed 16-6, but turned things in their favour to take a 22-16 lead into halftime.
“We were down, but we did a really good job of bouncing and staying the course,” said Tyler Hill, Barsby linebacker.
Rob Stevenson, Bulldogs coach, said his team put pressure on the Panthers and wore down an opponent that hadn’t trailed at halftime all season.
“That was a place they’d never been. They were out in deep water getting fatigued and the rest took care of itself,” Stevenson said.
In the fourth quarter, Barsby’s North Rainey picked off a pass, ran for a touchdown on the ensuing drive, then threw a TD pass to Naythan Vogt to close out the scoring.
“We all played for each other and we were playing till the last play,” Rainey said. “Not playing for the score, just playing our hearts out.”
He finished 10-for-14 passing for 191 yards. Cole Virtanen had 19 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns and Trentyn Anderson had 23 carries for 97 yards and a TD.
Defensively, Rainey and Vogt had two interceptions each and Hill made seven tackles.
“I saw tenacity, I saw guys executing the playbook, trusting one another with their assignments and an outstanding team effort defensively, special teams and the offence was very efficient,” Stevenson said.
GAME ON … The Bulldogs advance to play the Mission Roadrunners in the Subway Bowl provincial championship this Saturday (Dec. 6) at B.C. Place stadium. The Roadrunners edged the Ballenas Whalers 62-61 in overtime in the other semifinal … Kickoff time for the Subway Bowl hadn’t been finalized by press time.