The polar have the strength of numbers on their side
PGSS prepares for high school football clash with College Heights Cougars on Friday at Masich Place Stadium
In all of his years coaching the senior football team at Prince George High School, Pat Bonnett has never had so many players ready to dress to play.
The roster has continued to grow every week since the start of the school year, and Bonnett has finally had to put an amount in that revolving door of new signings, with just two games to go in an already short four-game season.
Having 30 players to work with is new for Bonnett, who started with the Polars as an assistant in 2012 and took over as head coach in 2018. The North Division has partially reserved its varsity division. junior strictly to grade 8 and 9 players and all grade 10 players are now part of the senior teams.
“It’s the most players we’ve had at university level and I think this team is pretty close to being the most talented,” said Bonnett. “What we don’t have is experience. Other years we’ve had talented kids who’ve had four or five years of playing experience and now we have talented players but they haven’t had the experience. This is what they get every week and I hope they improve every week and every workout.
In 2019, when the Polars placed last in the five-team BC Secondary School Football Association’s double-A north varsity division, they struggled to muster enough bodies on the pitch.
“We had 14 guys on the senior team and 12 of them had never played before,” said Bonnett. “It was horrible. There were some good athletes there, but they just had never played.
The Polars, who improved to 2-0 this season after a 33-0 victory over a young senior Nechako Valley Vikings team on Saturday afternoon in Vanderhoof, face the College Heights Cougars (1-1) in a dubbed the BC Secondary Schools Football Association. A university clash on Friday at 5 p.m. at the Masich Place stadium.
Polars offensive coordinator Brett Morrow built his offense around quarterback / defensive end Jason Kragt, a sneaky Hixon scrambler with a rifle arm, and he loves handing the ball over to back Nicholas Krawcyck, who doubles in defense to linebacker. They played seven-a-side football all summer with the Prince George Kodiaks and are provincial teammates on the British Columbia Under-18 team.
Kaleb Lizotte and Kurtis Vohar also add spice to the PGSS ground attack and have the speed and sticky hands to turn Kragt’s passes into long wins. Bonnett says the plan is to speed up the passing game and add some new wrinkles now that players are more familiar with their bread and butter games. Newcomer Everett Muratori could also become a threat to the Cougars in Friday’s game.
The Polars opened their season on September 24 with a 28-6 victory over the Shas Ti Kelly Road Eagles.
“We’ve got a strong offense, we’ve got some big guys on the line (including outstanding lineman Conor Johnson) and they’re moving some bodies,” Bonnett said. “We have a lot of progress to make but we have a good team. Right now we’re a running team, but I think we realize we have real talent that can catch the ball and run with the ball.
The Cougars (1-1) just won an 18-0 victory last Wednesday against the Eagles.
Out of a 27-man squad, College Heights head coach Tommy Heinzelman has 15 leftovers from the college junior squad which two years ago earned a playoff victory over Duchess Park. Running back / linebacker Matthew Norberg is Cougar Field’s top running back with 220 yards in 40 carries in two games and 12th-year running back Damien McMaster also carried the ball over the 100-yard mark. this season. On a running team, Cougar quarterback Isaac Slavik completed just five of 22 attempts, but one of those passing games was a touchdown.
“We’re just upgrading our passing game,” said Heinzelman. “Against Kelly Road, we’ve learned that we need to develop more of a passing threat because we can’t continue to confront her with defenses that obstruct the entire midfield.”
College Heights began its season on September 24 with a 23-0 loss to the Duchess Park Condors.
The Cougars hope to see their top receiver, Taemon Piddocke, again for Friday’s game. Piddocke, an 11th-year player who was the Cougars’ MVP in 2019, was sidelined with a sprained ankle he injured during the jamboree in mid-September and the Cougars have missed his ability to find open spaces on the field for Slavik to target.
In the trenches, tackle Spencer Rodgers and center Connor Sherlock are the two big bodies that anchor the offensive line, while McMaster has been the most consistent disruptor on the College Heights defensive line. Heinzelman says his team will be ready for the Polars on Friday.
“I think both teams are going to run the ball quite a bit, it’s going to be a lot of pounds on the ground with a few sprinkled throws, and we’ll have to see who tackles the best and blocks the best, that’s what it’s going to boil down to. “, did he declare.
The Condors and Polars seem to be the teams to beat in the North and they will have the chance to brag when they meet on October 22 at Masich on the final day of the regular season.
The Condors will face Shas Ti Kelly Road (0-2) in the other BCSSFA North Division game on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.