The Nanaimo District Secondary School Islanders are hoping to really get a sense of where they are in their final AA Varsity exhibition game on Friday.
They are hosting the Spectrum Thunder at Merle Logan Field at 7 p.m. for their first B.C. High School Football game in Nanaimo this season.
So far they have had two very different pre-season games. They were blown out 41-7 in Mission by the powerhouse Roadrunners in their first game, then they dropped down from AA Varsity to Tier II and shut out the Timberline Wolves 33-0 this past weekend. Spectrum is coming off of two bad losses to the Ballenas Whalers and AAA Varsity power Mt. Douglas Rams.
"(Spectrum) feels that we're their equal, so they're going to come out hard, fast and aggressive," said NDSS head coach Nate Stevenson. "Our offences are both very similar and I know coach (Roy) Vollinger really drives his boys forward. I think we have more football knowledge on the field, we've just been around and the guys have played a lot of football, and the intricacies of the game will be in our favour."
Despite coming off a shutout, Stevenson is still not quite happy with his defence. They were on the field too long and struggled to stop the Wolves. That will be a problem if it persists against stronger competition this year.
"We've been pretty slipshod the last two games, and I'm hoping we can tighten up what we were trying to do," said Stevenson. "We shutout Timberline, but there were a lot of breakdowns in assignments."
However, their offence is already starting to show big signs of improvement. They are continuing to work with their veer base system, but are also hoping to open things up in the passing game a bit.
Against Timberline, quarterback Cole McGarvey was a perfect 4-for-4, for 111 yards and three touchdowns. Top running back Jeremie Cheng, meanwhile, ran for 78 yards and a touchdown on just four carries - an impressive 19.5-yard average. In an effort to not run up the score, Stevenson did take his foot off the pedal and went to his backups and stuck to running the ball as the game wore on.
"We want to get it as wide open as we can, stay away from the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust, and get that ball moving," said Stevenson.
Friday's game is one they have been looking forward to for a while, especially as a way to kickoff their home schedule. "It's been highlighted on our schedule, a night game under the lights and at home," said Stevenson. "I know our guys are definitely looking forward to getting out there and throwing and running the football."
VIU Mariners open home PacWest soccer schedule The Vancouver Island University Mariners will be looking to rebound after a tough opening weekend on the road to their Pacific Western Athletic Association season.
They host the Langara College Falcons on Saturday and Quest University Kermodes on Sunday.
The VIU women lost both of their games - 2-1 to the UBC-O Heat on Saturday and 3-1 to the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack on Sunday - while the men split their two games with a 4-2 win over the Heat and a 4-2 loss to the WolfPack. The women play at 1 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday, the men go at 3 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.
ON TAP - The VIU Mariners golf team is in Kelowna this week for the second leg of the PacWest tournament tour. They are looking to build off of second overall finishes by both the men's and women's teams. .. The Nanaimo Clippers are in Port Alberni on Friday at 7 p.m. in B.C Hockey League action.. . The Vancouver Island Raiders host the Langley Rams in a showdown for first place in the B.C. Football Conference on Saturday at 2 p.m.
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