Nanaimo District Islanders running back Ben Barrera

Nanaimo District Islanders running back Ben Barrera

Injured NDSS forced to forfeit to Barsby

The season opener between the Barsby Bulldogs and the Nanaimo District Islanders has been cancelled after the Isles forfeited.

The kickoff to the AA varsity football regular season will have to wait another week.

The season opener between the Barsby Bulldogs and the Nanaimo District Islanders, originally slated for this Friday (Oct. 9) has been cancelled after the Isles forfeited.

NDSS suffered four serious injuries in a 21-6 road loss at Westsyde in the B.C. Interior last Friday, including a broken collarbone, wrist, thumb and a concussion.

“Things happen in a contact sport and it all piled up at once,” said Nate Stevenson, NDSS coach. “We’ve got a team, but I don’t think we’d be able to field much of opposition to Barsby. So I think it’s in our best interests to heal up and regroup … I just don’t think that many positives for either ourselves or Barsby would come out of the game.”

He said players trying to slot into new spots with just one week’s practice could be caught out of position and leave themselves or their teammates vulnerable to further injuries.

NDSS has a bye next week, so it creates a break in the schedule that the team can use to heal. It will be important to have good, meaningful practices, said the coach.

“It’s got to be aimed and pointed and directed [so we] come out crisper and stronger for when we go to play,” Stevenson said.

The forfeit loss is occurring early enough in the season so that the Islanders still have a chance to try to challenge for a playoff spot in their tough Western Conference.

“We’re down right now, but we’re not out,” Stevenson said. “We’re going to get up and we’re going to come back at it and we’re going to meet our obligations and we’re going to play some good, hard football.”

GAME ON … In the absence of a AA varsity game, the junior varsity game between Barsby and Nanaimo District becomes the feature Kocher Classic game this week. The teams meet Thursday (Oct. 8) at 3:15 p.m. at Merle Logan Field.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com