Early-season surprises, traditional powers and old-fashioned underdogs.
We’ve got everyone represented!
Varsity Letters reached out to the coaches this week as we preview six of the weekend’s most intriguing B.C. high school football match-ups.
3 p.m. — No. 2 New Westminster (2-1) at No. 4 Mt. Douglas (1-1)
VICTORIA — Mt. Douglas quarterback Gideone Kremler is still recovering from injury and will not play in this clash of ranked teams, meeting in the provincial capital to open the Western Conference season.
“Gideone is still in recovery mode,” Rams’ head coach Mark Townsend said earlier this week, “and unfortunately there is no definitive time line for his return. He certainly will not be back this month.”
All of that said, the Rams held their own in a 24-14 loss last week to No. 1 Terry Fox with Donte Carbone at quarterback.
The Hyacks, however, are playing like they might be the best team in the province.
Said Townsend: “As far as New West goes, wow. They look extremely impressive, especially their team speed. They look like a powerhouse team this year. They are loaded with talent and have one of the fastest teams I have seen in several years. They are very aggressive on defense, fly to the ball and are excellent tacklers. This will be another big challenge this week for us.”
New West is coming off a bye week.
3 p.m. — Robert Bateman Timberwolves (0-2) at West Vancouver Highlanders (2-0)
WEST VANCOUVER — West Vancouver hasn’t started 3-0 since 2007, but getting their won’t be easy.
“They are not traditional, but they have athletes and to us, that is an X factor,” said Highlanders’ co-head coach Shawn Anderson of the Wolves. “I got worried watching their film. They are big, lanky and fast, similar to what we’re trying to do. We’re evenly matched. It was like watching us on film.
“They have some athletes and we have a young offensive line. We have to be able to make some adjustments this week.”
Bateman linebackers Brock McCartney and Sean Moynahan will have to be at their best for the Wolves to get into the win column.
Bateman Grade 11 quarterback Logan McDonald is a rising talent and West Van senior pivot Ben Corbett has passed for almost 500 yards through his first two games.
3:45 — No. 2 Windsor (1-0) at No. 1 Abbotsford (0-2)
NORTH VANCOUVER — Numbers challenged with likely only 14 players in their line-up, you don’t doubt head coach Jim Schuman when he says the greatest challenge for his Dukes is internal.
“Last week we played with only 14 players and based on Monday’s turnout we will be in a similar situation this week,” said Schuman on Tuesday. “We have several players who still have never even played in a football game and this will be their first game. They have been recruited or decided to play late spring or the first week of school and without them we would not have had a team. Thus, we are still focusing on fundamentals, positional responsibilities and improving on a daily basis.”
Abbotsford has opened against Triple A competition and Schuman has huge respect for the skill level the Panthers will bring to the fore at home on Friday.
“Abby is a big physical team, and Samwel can rip off a TD run on any play,” Schuman said, highlighting dynamic running back Samwel Uko. “They have other backs that can grind it out, and they stretch the field well with their vertical passing game. It will be a challenge for us to compete for four quarters, but finding a way and the will to do so is our focus.”
Said Panthers head coach Jay Fujimura: “Our team has been improving week by week. We played two very challenging opponents (Notre Dame, St. Thomas More) the last two weeks to get ready for the season and see where we need to be. Windsor will test us again. They bring a lot of athletes to the field, giving them a very balanced attack on offense and a quick aggressive defense.”
7 p.m. — No. 1 Terry Fox Ravens (1-1) at W.J. Mouat Hawks (0-2)
ABBOTSFORD — From the Hawks’ perspective, it goes without saying this is a toughie.
Mouat graduated 21 seniors and that kind of influence can’t be replaced overnight.
“We knew coming into this season that it would be one where our kids needed to learn quickly on the fly,” said Hawks head coach Travis Bell. “We feel as though they’ve done that in the first two games. That being said, it’s very easy for teenagers to get caught looking at the win-loss record and the scoreboard and forget about the process and how they are improving, and what they are learning.”
Mouat has opened the season with losses to Carson Graham and West Vancouver, but Friday’s game opens the Eastern Conference league slate for both teams.
“We watched our film against West Van this afternoon together and pointed out all of the undisciplined mistakes that we made that limited our ability to come out on top,” Bell said earlier this week. “We need to clean those things up in order for us to give ourselves a chance to compete and I am hopeful we will be a much more polished team this Friday night.
“In looking at Terry Fox, it looks like they have 11 players on the field at once who are all very capable football players.”
7:30 p.m. — Seaquam Seahawks (2-0) at Notre Dame Jugglers (2-0)
BURNABY — Two high-octane offences, two teams playing like ranked powers in the early going.
What’s it going to come down to?
Says Notre Dame head coach Denis Kelly: “It often comes down to big plays and Seaquam has the capacity to make them, so we have a big challenge this week. Our key will be controlling the ball offensively ourselves so as to limit Seaquam’s time of possession.”
Last week, in a 53-0 win over Holy Cross, Jugglers quarterback Will Clarke threw three touchdown passes and running back Jerrell Cumming scored via the run, pass and kick return.
“We have prepared our defence based on what Notre Dame did on offence against both Abbotsford and Holy Cross,” said Seaquam head coach Navin Chand. “However, we know with the legendary Denis Kelly as Notre Dame’s head coach and OC, that will need to prepare for every conceivable offensive formation and play.”
Yet Kelly knows an explosive offence when he sees one, and Seaquam’s is just that, with weapons everywhere.
“Seaquam has good offensive balance,” said Kelly. “They have a solid run game (Jalen Philpot, Jello Juacato and Antonio Pamintuan) to go with their outside speed and skill at receiver positions (Tyson Philpot, Chris Martin and Jacob Van Luven). The QB (Josh Haydu) has a strong arm and that allows him to get the ball to his receivers quickly and to go deep when he wants to. They give you multiple formations and are varied enough in each so that they don’t have very many obvious tendencies.”
All of that should equal one heck of an entertaining game at Burnaby Lakes.
1:30 p.m. — Carson Graham Eagles (3-0) at No. 3 South Delta Sun Devils (2-1)
With all the talk of South Delta’s vaunted offence following it’s 85-70 loss at Squalicum, it’s notable that undefeated Carson Graham has actually scored more points (153-to-140) through three games.
Still, the ranked Sun Devils have to be the favourites playing at home behind the arm of quarterback Michael Calvert.
“It’s always challenging facing a team like South Delta who can attack a defence many different ways,” said Carson head coach Brian Brady. “They have an experienced staff so they will be able to adjust on the fly.”
“A team like South Delta will attack on the ground, horizontally and vertically which means you need to be prepared for a lot,” continued Brady. “They have a lot of returning players at key positions with Billy Matwichyna and Douglas Jameson, so you know the chemistry will be there with Calvert. (Andrew) Kraft is a strong defensive end and played a lot for them last year and he brings that defensive mentality to the offensive side of the ball.”
Calvert leads the passing parade with 1,106 yards and 13 touchdowns, but Carson’s Charlie McMillan is second with 829 yards and 11 TD passes.
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