Nanaimo District Islanders quarterback Maren Bradbrooke rushes for a first down during an exhibition game against the Earl Marriott Mariners on Friday at Merle Logan Field.

Islanders expect to be competitive in tough conference

The NDSS Islanders expect to be competitive this season, and they’ll have to be, to keep afloat in AA varsity football’s hardest conference.

The NDSS Islanders expect to be competitive this season, and they’ll have to be, to keep afloat in AA varsity football’s hardest conference.

“Our conference is so, so tough…” said Nate Stevenson, Islanders coach. “We’ve got to tip over some of those big guys to get to the dance.”

The Isles are used to that kind of schedule. Stevenson recalled a couple of seasons ago, when NDSS beat a first-placed team from elsewhere in B.C., but finished fifth in its own conference.

“If we keep focusing and getting better each week and believing in ourselves and finish out the end of the fourth quarter, then we’ll see what the score is at the end,” the coach said.

The Isles have had several new players join the team this fall, “so we’ve got a crew of guys who understand what’s going on and a crew of guys that are trying to learn what’s going on,” he said.

“There’s a lot of raw talent on this team and if we can sharpen it up and point it in the right direction, things are looking good,” Stevenson said.

He said he thinks the Islanders will be capable of running or passing the ball this season effectively enough that opposing defences won’t be able to hunker down and shut down one facet. However, the coach said ND’s offence is still in its infancy with a limited number of plays.

“A week or two into the season we’ve got to start working off of those so we’re not so vanilla and we can be a bit more explosive,” he said.

Maren Bradbrooke is the team’s quarterback and a threat to run or pass. Nikolas Johnson at running back is one of the leaders on offence and the offensive line is anchored by centre Caleb Pounds.

The defence has a few big guys, but there are also guys who aren’t as physically imposing who are playmakers on D.

Some of the conference’s heavyweight teams “will start leaning on you, but I think that we’re going to be able to make some big plays and slow those cats down,” Stevenson said. “We’ll come from different angles at them.”

Reece Maddison, at linebacker, and defensive end Connor Reid are key players on D.

GAME ON … With so many challenging games ahead, it magnifies the importance of games like the season opener this Friday (Sept. 23) against the Hugh Boyd Trojans. The Isles and Trojans kick off at 4 p.m. at Merle Logan Field and admission is free.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Best of the City: More than just the great outdoors

Living Forest Oceanside Campground voted Best Local Campground in Nanaimo

Pedestrian dies in motor vehicle incident along the highway near Nanaimo Airport

Police investigating scene where 37-year-old woman from Nanaimo died

Best of the City: Cannabis store’s customer service impresses

Mood Cannabis Co. finishes second for Best Customer Service in reader survey

Best of the City: Live-streaming in quarantine

Arts and entertainment community resilient in the face of a pandemic

Tour de Rock arrives in Nanaimo, now it’s off to the next station

Cops for Cancer team completes Nanaimo section of Vancouver Island cycle relay

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Most Read