GW Graham juniors gunning for third provincial football championship

It would be title three in seven years for GWG’s junior varsity crew as they take on Windsor’s Dukes.

The GW Graham football program has existed for seven years, and each and every season the Grizzlies have sent a squad to B.C. Place Stadium for a playoff game.

The junior varsity team continues the run this year after demolishing the John Barsby Bulldogs in a neutral-site semi-final clash last week at Burnaby Lakes.

A 38-0 win sends GWG on to the Subway Bowl AA championship game, which takes place this Saturday with an 11 a.m. kickoff under the dome against the Windsor Dukes.

The Grizzlies will be pursuing what would be the third provincial championship in the team’s history, following back-to-back title wins in 2013 and 2014.

North Van’s Dukes downed the College Heights (Prince George) Blue Cougars in the other semi-final.

Windsor seems like a bit of a surprise entry in the final after finishing the regular season with a 2-2 record, with 96 points for and 104 against. Fourth in the West division, Windsor knocked off Vernon’s Clarence Fulton Maroons 38-27 in a quarter-final before taking out College Heights.

They will be underdogs against the Grizzlies, but GWG coach Laurie Smith is telling his team to not take the Dukes lightly.

“Windsor is a very well coached, disciplined team that can execute at a high level,” he said. “They are very creative on offense and have a fast aggressive defense as well. We expect a good battle in the trenches as well with their skilled offensive and defensive lines. Head coach Jim Schuman has been at the helm for over 20 years with a few provincial championships under his belt so we anticipate this will be a tough game.”

There is history between Windsor and GWG.

The senior AA Grizzlies saw their 2017 season end with a 47-7 loss to the Dukes in a semi-final at B.C. Place Stadium.

Teams are often dazzled by the big stage and the all-or-nothing stakes when they get to B.C. Place Stadium for a championship game, but that shouldn’t be as big of a problem for the Grizzlies.

Several of their players won a provincial title with the Chilliwack junior bantam Giants last fall.

“Having wide receivers Logan Buchwitz and Michael Hopwood, quarterback Grayson Frick, lineman Dhillon Myers and running back Kaleb Spanner is a game changer for our JVs this year,” Smith said. “They are all leaders and bring consistent effort and big game experience.

“Grayson is as calm as they come no matter what the opposition is doing and Logan is the player that all other teams have to account for. He is very impressive.”

If defense wins championships, GW Graham is in good shape.

The Grizzly D has shut out three straight opponents and only allowed five first downs to a potent John Barsby offence last week.

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