Barsby Bulldogs running back Brandon Parker is tackled by Holy Cross Crusaders opponents during Saturday’s AA varsity football playoff game at Merle Logan Field. The home team won 48-6.

Barsby Bulldogs running back Brandon Parker is tackled by Holy Cross Crusaders opponents during Saturday’s AA varsity football playoff game at Merle Logan Field. The home team won 48-6.

Bulldogs show bite, reach semifinals

John Barsby Secondary School’s AA varsity football team defeated Holy Cross 48-6 on Saturday to advance to the provincial semifinals.

The Barsby Bulldogs had a handle on the football and it helped them to another big win.

John Barsby Secondary School’s AA varsity football team defeated the Holy Cross Crusaders 48-6 on Saturday at Merle Logan Field to advance to the provincial semifinals.

The Bulldogs’ offensive and defensive lines played well and the offence did a good job with its ground-and-pound attack, said coach Rob Stevenson, but it was big plays on defence that really made the difference.

“Our defence took over the game again. It’s just really, really tough for opponents to establish anything when they’re turning over the ball so frequently,” the coach said. “And it makes it a lot easier on your offence when you get that many opportunities to score.”

Shawn Arabsky had a fumble recovery and returned an interception for a touchdown, Kyle Vollet also had a fumble recovery and an INT and Sheldon Robertson made a pick, too.

Stevenson said his defensive players try for those turnovers.

“We practise forcing them and creating them and I think that shows on game day because we’re pretty opportunistic and we seem to be getting an inordinate amount of them,” he said.

When the Bulldogs got the ball, the offence had its best success handing off to running back Brandon Parker, who had 33 carries for 230 yards and two touchdowns.

Tyler Harvey, Kalven Kellock, Brody Taylor and Kyle Vollet also scored rushing majors for the ’Dawgs.

Barsby’s victory sets up a semifinal matchup this Saturday (Nov. 23) in Vancouver against the Mission Roadrunners. The programs are familiar with one another, as some of the Grade 12 Bulldogs beat the Roadrunners in the junior varsity Subway Bowl two years ago and some of the Grade 11 ’Dawgs lost to the ’Runners in the semifinals last season.

So Barsby is looking forward to playing an old nemesis, said Stevenson, but the team would be pumped up for this stage of football season, regardless.

“The semifinal game is typically the hardest game to win in the playoffs…” said the coach. “The semis is another red-hot team and you can’t overlook it and you can get caught peeking.”

GAME ON … Barsby (8-0) and Mission (8-0) kick off Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Thunderbird Stadium at the University of British Columbia. Admission is $10.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com