GW Graham’s Quaid Villenuve (No. 72 in blue) tracks down the Abbotsford Panther quarterback during a junior varsity scrimmage Friday afternoon at Exhibition Stadium. ERIC J. WELSH/ THE PROGRESS

Buzz building for GW Graham junior football team

A deep and talented roster top to bottom is targeting a provincial title this fall.

GW Graham’s senior varsity football team was ranked fourth in the province among AA teams last week, and will be gunning for a third straight trip to the B.C. High School Football Final Four this fall.

But the school’s best hope for a provincial banner may rest with the junior varsity team, which is starting to generate some serious buzz.

The juniors bombed the Abbotsford Panthers in a preseason scrimmage last Friday, and coach Laurie Smith threw some fuel on the hype fire afterwards as he talked to his team.

“I’ve been around this program since day one and this is the best group I’ve seen,” Smith said. “Keep putting in the work and you will be at B.C. Place in November.”

In saying that, the coach puts this year’s JV squad in the same conversation with the back-to-back provincial champions of 2013 and 2014.

“Yes. Yes, they are that good,” Smith said, doubling down with a recorder taping his words. “There are just a lot of playmakers. In this game we had four touchdowns with four different guys, and they were all dynamic plays.

“(Grayson) Frick with a 50 yard run and Josh (Caverley) with a 45 yard catch. We had Logan Buchwitz on another score and Kaleb Spanner with the last one.

“It’s a group of talented athletes who’ve all played together for a while, and there’s a ton of depth on the roster.”

The Grizzlies had 37 dressed for the Abby scrimmage after sending 15 into some games last year.

The core of this year’s team played Chilliwack Minor Football last season, winning a junior bantam provincial title.

“But not all of them,” Smith noted. “Vince Ibardolaza is going to be one of our best players on defence and he wasn’t part of that group.

“We have several kids who were here last year who are going to give us a ton of depth.”

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