Barsby Bulldogs player Kalven Kellock

Barsby Bulldogs player Kalven Kellock

First a bus ride, then football

John Barsby Secondary School’s AA varsity football team begins its pre-season this Saturday (Aug. 31) in Prince George against Duchess Park.

The Barsby Bulldogs want to make sure that a long road trip is worthwhile.

John Barsby Secondary School’s AA varsity football team begins its pre-season this Saturday (Aug. 31) in Prince George against Duchess Park.

School isn’t back in session yet, but at this time of year, football players around the province already have a week and a half of practice under their belts.

“We’re getting 100 per cent attendance at practice, guys are excited about playing football,” said Rob Stevenson, coach of the Bulldogs.

The strength of the Barsby program means that the players – whether they’re returning to the senior team or moving up from junior varsity – are well-versed in ’Dawgs football.

“You can see the carry-over from years past,” Stevenson said. “We’re working on a few new things with our systems, but there’s a lot they know. We’ve just got to get the rust off and get better at it and go faster at it.”

The coach has been analyzing “player combinations,” he said, figuring out which guys work well alongside each other.

He’ll get a chance to test those combos against Duchess Park, a team that possesses a lot of size and goes into 2013 as a favourite in its conference.

The ’Dawgs will be hungry for a win; they’re sure travelling a long way to try for one.

“Really importantly, I’ve got a captive audience for 16 hours, so I intend to do a lot of teaching on the bus, football-wise,” Stevenson said.

Barsby’s first home game isn’t until Oct. 4.

NDSS starts off against tough team

The Nanaimo District Islanders sure aren’t easing their way into football season. The AA varsity football team kicks off the pre-season this Friday (Aug. 30) with a road game against the powerhouse Mission Roadrunners. Mission has played in the provincial final two years in a row. ND’s home opener will be Oct. 4.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com