‘Dawgs unleashed for playoffs

Now that every game is a must-win, the Barsby Bulldogs AA varsity football team knows it has to raise its level of play.

Barsby Bulldogs running back Jacob Odynsky

Barsby Bulldogs running back Jacob Odynsky

Playoffs require perfection.

Now that every game is a must-win, the Barsby Bulldogs AA varsity football team knows it has to raise its level of play. The Bulldogs’ undefeated regular season makes them playoff favourites and gives them home-field advantage, but not much else.

If they intend to give themselves a chance to duplicate last year’s provincial championship, they have to continue to eliminate mistakes.

“They’re costly against good teams, and if you’re in the playoffs you’re a good team,” said Rob Stevenson, Barsby coach.

The good team the ’Dawgs face on Friday (Nov. 11) is Clarence Fulton, out of Vernon.

Even though the Bulldogs hope Friday is the first of several playoff games, they’ll step onto the field focused, said Steve Morgan, offensive lineman.

“We’re just going to have to improve each week and not look ahead,” he said. “The next opponent is the most important thing on our agenda.”

That’s been the case all year. Because the ’Dawgs are defending champs, it’s required extra focus all year not to take things for granted.

“Last year’s team was perfection, it was textbook. This year we’re trying to fill the boots of last year’s team, of course we are,” said Brad Robson, Barsby linebacker. “In playoffs, we need to realize that we lose one game and we’re out and there’s no going back.”

Every aspect of football is more important at this time of year. Robson said the Bulldogs need to practise harder and play harder.

“We need to actually do what we say,” he said. “We say a lot of things and we don’t bring it out on the football field.”

The Bulldogs’ home-field advantage brings them to the artificial turf at Merle Logan Field on Friday rather than the more familiar mud at John Barsby Community Secondary School. So the ’Dawgs are hoping the city’s football fans will help create home-field atmosphere.

“We play better with every person that’s in the crowd hollering for us,” Stevenson said. “When Nanaimo’s behind us we feel like Supermen.”

GAME ON … The Bulldogs and Maroons kick off Friday at 1:30 p.m.  … The NDSS Islanders start Tier 2 varsity playoffs Friday against Moscrop at 1:45 p.m. at NDSS field.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com