VANCOUVER — A former B.C. Double A football dynasty has enjoyed a glorious season of re-birth.
Not surprisingly, Windsor Dukes head coach Jim Schuman is savouring every moment of the journey this season with his undefeated, No. 1-ranked North Vancouver squad, which on Saturday continued its string of dominant play with a 47-7 win over Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Grizzlies.
The victory propels the Dukes into this coming Saturday’s Subway Bowl AA championship final against the Abbotsford Panthers, a team they beat 44-27 on the road back on Sept. 22.
“When you get blessed with athletes you take it for granted and you think you’re a great coach,” said Schuman, who between 2001-05, led the Dukes to four championship finals and three Subway Bowl titles.
“Then,” the 47-year-old Schuman continued, “you realize that coaching starts when you have fewer athletes and you just have to work harder. In my younger days, I certainly took things for granted. I certainly appreciate all of this now.”
The 2017 Dukes are the perfect combination of both.
Schuman and his staff of coaches have brought a collective level of expertise, reflected by pristine execution on both sides of the ball, and although his numbers are small, he has a big enough group of go-to athletes led by quarterback/linebacker Ryan Baker, to stand a cut above the rest of the tier.
On Saturday, Baker was absolutely magnificent.
He not only went 9-of-16 for 199 yards, throwing a pair of touchdowns to speedy Julien Perri, he also carried 20 times for 163 yards and four touchdowns.
Perri was tremendous, catching five passes for 128 yards. Among his two majors was a 29-yard scoring strike which made the score 41-7.
Windsor capped the scoring when Ben McMichael picked off a pass and returned it 23 yards for a score.
G.W. Graham’s lone score came off a 38-yard touchdown run by Von Richardson in the first quarter.
“I don’t know where football will be in the future at Windsor,” added Schuman, “but I am certainly going to enjoy this year and this group of guys.”
The win sends Windsor to the final for the first time since it lost 41-20 to Mt. Douglas in 2009.
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