Playoff football is always unpredictable and this year, there’s a lot of parity across the province, too.
It makes post-season prognostications difficult, but fans should safely expect some good, hard-fought football.
“When you get into playoffs, it’s real,” said Rob Stevenson, coach of the Barsby Bulldogs AA varsity football team. “You lose, you’re done. Every game’s a trap game for you. You can’t look ahead; you’ve got to take care of the ground under your feet.”
Those first steps come this Saturday (Nov. 15) as the Bulldogs kick off the post-season against the Prince George Polars.
Barsby expects to be ready. The team is coming off a bye week in which players hit the books and the gym and made sure they could put all their focus into trying to win a football game this weekend.
“It’s football life around here, and that’s it,” said Rylie Harris, Bulldogs centre. “We’re coming in strong now and I’m feeling really happy with all the effort that we’re getting from all the guys.”
Josh Goldston, defensive tackle, said it’s a “great feel” at practice these days.
“I love the speed, I love the tempo…” he said. “When we hit playoffs, it’s all in.”
For Barsby’s coach, the matchup has added meaning because he’s a graduate of Prince George Secondary School. That said, it’s an out-of-division opponent and the Bulldogs will only know so much about the team that will climb off the bus the morning of game day.
“We’re just going to have to stick with the Barsby mentality and hit hard and just have fun,” Goldston said.
The Bulldogs have seen in film that P.G. has some size.
“We’re not the biggest team, we’re probably not the fastest, but we can be the best team, the best group of guys that support one another,” Stevenson said. “Look for some motivated human beings out there.”
The Bulldogs are the defending champions, the home team and the favourites to advance, but they’re not looking too far ahead in the playoff brackets.
“We’re playing week by week and hoping to get to play again next week,” Harris said. “This week first, and then whatever happens, happens, and I just hope I get to play football until the end of November.”
GAME ON … Barsby and Prince George kick off this Saturday at 3 p.m. at Merle Logan Field.