The high school football season kicks off its exhibition schedule this weekend and neither Nanaimo program is easing into the campaign. The powerhouse Barsby Bulldogs travel to Prince George to play the top-ranked AA Varsity North Division team, the Duchess Park Condors on Saturday, while the developing Nanaimo District Islanders visit the No. 3 provincially-ranked Mission Roadrunners on Friday. The two teams have been practicing for the last couple of weeks, and this will be their first real chance to see how they are going to meet expectations.
For the No. 2-ranked Bulldogs, those expectations are as high as ever and a good start will be critical to their season.
"Everything you do is built on what's come before," said head coach Rob Stevenson. "It's going to be a reflection of how we've practiced and we're going to get a good look at our athletes and how they function with a live opponent in front of them and what our tempo is going to be like."
He likes how his team is looking at the end of camp with most of their new offence installed and the defence and special teams already on track.
But Stevenson, now in his 17th season on the Barsby sidelines, says they have their work cut out for them against a motivated Condors team that is built around their hulking offensive and defensive lines.
"We played them a couple of years ago and beat them by a lopsided score, but they were pretty young then, for a lot of their players, this is a long time coming to get another crack at the Bulldogs," he said.
The Islanders are coming off a tough 1-6 season in 2012, their first after making the jump back up to the AA Varsity after winning a Tier II championship in 2011. Their biggest challenge is sheer numbers. With several players still working and others yet to join the squad, they will be heading to Mission on Friday with 17 players, meaning they will be playing a little ironman football, with a number of players playing both offence and defence.
"It's good, you get to evaluate your players on both sides of the football," said head coach Nate Stevenson, who is using the game to see how they measure up and how far they have to go.
They too are running into a much bigger team with a lot of speed, but have installed a split back veer offence that Stevenson hopes will help neutralize Mission's size.
"It gives our players the best opportunity to get yards through options and quick passes," said Stevenson. "It places defenders at a disadvantage, and the good thing about running an option game is you don't have to worry about blocking their big guys.
"The option game allows you to take a medium team against a stronger team and still have a hope. .. it levels the playing ground."
Registration open for adult 7A Side Soccer
The Nanaimo Adult Soccer 7A Side league has opened their fall registration.
They are looking for players of all skill levels to help fill out their teams Registration closes on Sept. 5 with league play starting on Sept. 12.
For more information go to www.nanaimo7aside.com while individuals looking for a team to play on are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hole-in-one event will help out local athletes
The Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards is holding a Million Dollar Hole in One at Beban Park Golf Course from Sept. 11-14.
The event is being held to raise funds to assist local athletes that are in need of financial assistance to compete in their chosen sport. There are two parts to the Hole in One promotion, a shoot out and a putting competition from 20-yards out.
Contestants are invited out for preliminary rounds from Sept. 11-13. Those who get closest will be invited back for Saturday's semifinal and final. Five shots will cost contestants $5. For tickets and more information, contact Marilyn Sullivan at 250-716-6110.
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