Ground game will be central in championship football final

The Barsby Bulldogs and Nanaimo District Islanders go helmet-to-helmet in the AA junior varsity B.C. championship on Saturday (Dec. 3).

This is Part 2 of the News Bulletin’s preview of the AA junior varsity B.C. high school football championship game. For Part 1, please click here.

Just because it’s a championship game doesn’t mean the scheming becomes more complicated.

The run game will be central no matter who has the ball in the AA junior varsity Subway Bowl on Saturday (Dec. 3) at B.C. Place when the Barsby Bulldogs and Nanaimo District Islanders go helmet-to-helmet.

“They’ve got their strengths; we’ve got our strengths,” said Rob Stevenson, Barsby coach. “The line of scrimmage is going to be punishing both ways. They come at you from a lot of different directions, same here, and it’s going to be who goes out there and makes plays.”

The Bulldogs, with their double-wing offence, rarely throw. They had one passing play in their semifinal win and the last time Barsby and NDSS played, the ’Dawgs didn’t attempt a single pass. So opponents know the run is coming – but it’s still hard to stop it.

“I think it’s just because we execute it so well,” said Steen Rasmussen, Bulldogs wingback. “We run it every time, just practise it over and over.”

Cameron Wright, Barsby quarterback, said it’s “reps and reps and reps – that’s how you get it done.”

NDSS is also a rush-first team, but runs its offence a little differently through playmaking quarterback Finn Bradbrooke.

Rasmussen said to stop Nanaimo District, Barsby needs to concentrate on its own fundamentals.

“It’s alignment, assignment, technique – just do what we do best,” he said.

With lots of experience playing games against each other, both programs will go into Saturday’s final respecting the opponent’s capabilities.

“They’re a strong, strong team; they come at you hard,” Bradbrooke said. “We’ve just got to come out harder.”

Nate Stevenson, NDSS coach, said his team needs to play its A game to be successful against such a tough opponent.

“They’re a good football team. We’ve played them twice and they showed us that, that they’re a good football team,” he said. “And you know Rob, he’s a master at hiding stuff and he’ll be bringing wrinkles out.”

GAME ON … The Bulldogs and Islanders kick off Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at B.C. Place.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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