Junior Bulldogs win in fight for playoff lives

NANAIMO – Barsby's junior varsity football team pulled off a 40-33 comeback victory over Argyle on Wednesday at Merle Logan field.

Argyle Pipers ball carrier Rory Hoffman

Argyle Pipers ball carrier Rory Hoffman

The last high school football game in Nanaimo this season was the best of them all.

The Barsby Bulldogs junior varsity team pulled off an improbable 40-33 comeback victory over the Argyle Pipers on Wednesday night at Merle Logan field.

Playing under the lights, the junior ‘Dawgs scored 16 unanswered points in the last three and a half minutes to erase a two-score lead.

“They don’t get much tighter than this at the JV level,” said Matt Heinrichs, Barsby coach. “There was a lot of ups and downs and there was moments when I could feel us starting to deflate and then we had kids step up and make great plays.”

Argyle broke two big plays for touchdowns to start the fourth quarter, building a 33-24 lead, and the Pipers were also keeping the Bulldogs’ offence in check at that point.

But after a big stop by Barsby’s defence, North Rainey made a good punt return, then completed a 24-yard passing touchdown to Trentyn Anderson.

Cole Smith recovered the ensuing onside kick, then Anderson’s running led the ‘Dawgs down the field again and he scored a four-yard rushing TD to give his team the lead.

Argyle had time on the clock for one more drive, but time ran out on the visitors as they reached the red zone.

“It was all about the bounce…” said Anderson. “A lot of players were down, a lot of players were scared, but because we bounced, we came back. And we played a hell of a game today.”

The Pipers were a Goliath-sized team for JV, and Heinrichs said his players resembled a bunch of mosquitos swarming a buffalo. But Barsby was successful in getting 11 men to the football, gang tackling, and playing as a team.

“It’s not about the size of the player, it’s about the size of the heart,” Anderson said.

Cole Smith had a receiving touchdown and a rushing touchdown and Mark Dhamia had Barsby’s other TD, a one-handed grab. Rainey, aside from his three TD passes, also had an interception and a fumble recovery.

The win advances the Bulldogs to B.C. High School Football’s AA junior varsity semifinals, where they will face the Mission Roadrunners in a neutral-site game Wednesday (Nov. 21) at 3 p.m. at the Burnaby Lakes field complex.

The junior ‘Dawgs will go into that game a stronger team after this week’s experience winning a playoff thriller.

“It gave us a lot of spirit, to do this,” Anderson said.

GRID BITS … The Nanaimo District Islanders were also embroiled in AA junior varsity quarterfinal action on Wednesday, but their season came to an end with a 41-8 loss to Abbotsford Collegiate in a road game … To read about Barsby’s AA varsity team, please click here.