High expectations for Grizzlies as training camp nears

The GW Graham Grizzlies football program enters its second year, with the junior varsity team a favourite to win it all.

The GW Graham Grizzlies kick off their fall training camp Aug. 19, with three teams hitting the field.

The school had teams at the Grade 8 and junior varsity (Grades 9-10) levels last year.

This year, they add one at the varsity level.

Players will work out twice daily over two weeks. The varsity and junior varsity teams travel to Oregon for exhibition games at the end of August.

Once school starts, all three teams practice daily after school. The varsity and junior varsity teams will travel to Kelowna for exhibition action, and host Kamloops and Barsby (Nanaimo) to cap off the preseason schedule.

The regular season for both teams starts the week of Sept. 18.

The Grade 8s don’t start play until late September.

GW Graham’s junior varsity team is the top-ranked AA squad in the province, while the varsity team is looked upon as playoff worthy.

“The competition is very, very good in high school football, and the rankings and speculation mean nothing to us,” said head coach Laurie Smith. “We plan to work very hard at camp and compete at both levels. Our players and coaches now understand the task at hand and we take nothing for granted.”

In spring ball the junior varsity Grizzlies pummeled the provincial champion Mission Roadrunners 30-0 while the varsity team lost 36-0.

“The varsity game was a good indication of how much work we need to do to be competitive at that level,” suggested defensive coordinator Jason Campbell. “We were thrown around pretty convincingly.”

The Grizzlies had some key players, like top receiver Jake Creasey, running back Conner Hermann and slotback Kirkland Kennedy sidelined in spring.

Their return this month will help.

“We are pretty sure our best will compete at the highest level,” Smith said. “We have some gifted athletes at GW Graham who are new to football, but they are learning at a tremendous pace.”

The Grizzlies practice from 8 to 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily from August 19-29.

For more info, visit grahamfootball.ca