The NDSS Islanders are moving up in the world.
Nanaimo District Secondary School’s varsity football team, champions of B.C.’s Tier 2 last year, move up this fall to AA varsity.
The Isles didn’t have to go up a tier – it was a program decision, said coach Nate Stevenson. Tier 2 served its purpose for NDSS, he said, and it’s time for other schools to vie for that championship.
“It did a lot, I feel, for the school and it also did a lot for the younger kids coming into school here,” Stevenson said. “Guys want to be a part of something like that.”
And now the Isles are happy to be a part of the AA landscape. The opponents will be bigger and better, but not unbeatable, Stevenson stressed.
“Those kids put their pants on, too,” he said. We don’t back down to anybody. Win or lose, we’ll play some football.”
Here’s a look at the 2012 NDSS Islanders, who open the season Friday (Sept. 21) with a home game against the Argyle Pipers.
During the off-season Stevenson sat down with some of his veterans and pondered X’s and O’s, trying to come up with a game plan that might play to ND’s strengths.
They came up with an old-school scheme called the triple option.
“It’s high-risk, a lot of options, a lot of pitches, you’ve got to do reading on the fly when guys are coming hot and you’re amped up a bit,” said Nate Stevenson.
Quarterback Eric Lindsay will lead the attack, distributing the ball to fullback Willy Curry and wingbacks Harb Thach and Dustin Wall. Receivers Artie Wulf, Brett Ablitt and Brennan Mattes are other playmakers on offence.
The offensive line includes Peter Le Patezour at centre, flanked by Laine Palmberg, MacIntyre Barrera, Ben Lindstrom and Michael Reid.
“We want to play ball-control offence and we’re getting there,” said Stevenson. “I like our power attack, I like our ground attack and we also have the ability to throw the football.”
Lindstrom and Le Patezour will be two of the leaders of the D in the linebacking corps, and Thach and Wall are outside linebackers.
The D line consists of Curry, Palmberg, Barrera and Reid.
Wulf, at safety, Ron Macdonald, Ablitt and Mattes comprise the group of defensive backs.
Mattes starts the season as placekicker, with Wall and Mattes returning kicks.
ND was originally slated to start the season Friday (Sept. 21) against the Argyle Pipers in North Vancouver, but benefited from scheduling conflicts with officials and now their opener will be a home game at Nanaimo District Secondary School Field. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.