Last season, Abbotsford running back Jalem Catlin was one of only four Grade 11's named to the B.C. AAA provincial all-star team. This season, whichever AA and AAA provincial all-star selections happen not to make it to the Subway Bowl title game will be able to suit up in the first-ever BCSSFA all-star game at B.C. Place Stadium on Nov. 30 (Photo by Becky Szmutko used through permission of Abbotsford Secondary athletics)
Feature High School Football

Subway Bowl’s Super Saturday gets star-studded addition! BCSSFA adds high school all-star game for Nov. 30 at BC Place Stadium

LANGLEY — It’s an idea whose time has come, and the timing couldn’t be any better for B.C. high school football to add even more entertainment value to its heralded championship finals weekend.

The BCSSFA has confirmed plans to hold a B.C. all-star game as part of its season-ending Subway Bowl Saturday championship menu this coming Nov. 30 at B.C. Place Stadium.

“There is already an All-Canadian (high school football) game on TSN,” said New Westminster Hyacks head coach Farhan Lalji of the inaugural Prospects Game which was staged this past June in Ottawa and aired nationally on TSN.

“With that in mind, what was best for us was to have an in-season game, where it can still impact CIS recruiting and give deserving players the recognition for having had a great season.”

With Subway’s sponsorship of Subway Bowl hitting 19 years this season, there has been very little else in terms of added features over the past near two-decades as it pertains to the provincial high school football championship post-season.

Lalji, a past BCSSFA president, says that the all-star game will plug in neatly, right smack dab in the middle of championship Saturday.

Although game times are not yet officials, the basic structure of the final day of the season, would see the two B.C junior varsity (AA and AAA) title games played at approximately 9:30 and 11:45 a.m. respectively.

The all-star game would follow at 2 p.m., with the senior varsity AA and AAA title games rounding out the evening at 4 and 7 p.m. respectively.

The all-star game rosters will be comprised of two teams of 30 players each. The full-contact, four-down affair will not include special teams play.

Those players named as provincial AA and AAA all-stars will automatically earn spots to play in the game and can do so, unless they happen to be playing in either the AA and AAA Subway Bowl championship finals.

After all initial spots have been filled, the all-star game committee will then see how many extra spots remain and go about finalizing the roster based on player ratings made during the conference all-star team selection process. Those selected as conference all-stars but who fell shy of earning provincial all-star status would fill in the remaining spots.

Last season’s provincial AA all-star team featured nine combined members of the championship finals-bound Vernon Panthers and Robert Bateman Timberwolves. As well, four combined members of the Triple A finalists, the Mt. Douglas Rams and New Westminster Hyacks, were named provincial all-stars. In that instance, all things being equal, the committee would have added 13 more players.

With a large number of U Sports football coaches in Vancouver to scout Subway Bowl following the completion of the Ontario high school championships the week prior, Canadian university coaches will handle the all-star game’s coaching duties.

This season’s high school awards banquet is set to be staged at the Langley Events Centre on Nov. 29, the day before the Subway Bowl final.

That means the all-star game participants would get in two practices (Nov. 28-29), attend the Friday banquet, then play in the all-star game on the Saturday. 

In a previous era, Football B.C. held its annual Senior Bowl game during spring break.

“Now, recruiting happens so far in advance,” said Lalji, “that during spring break kids are on vacation and not in football mode. So we wanted to do something similar to a Pro Bowl model where kids get recognized for having a great season.

“It checks a lot of boxes and it incorporates our provincial awards banquet. It fits in so well in our championship week.”

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