Se­nior Road­run­ners stocked with fresh tal­ent for foot­ball sea­son

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports - Ted CLARKE Cit­i­zen staff

Last sea­son was not one of the mem­o­rable ones for the Kelly Road Road­run­ners dou­ble-A var­sity foot­ball team.

It was a re­build­ing year for Ryan Bel­lamy’s bunch and they took their lumps, fin­ish­ing last out of four in the North­ern Con­fer­ence with a 1-3 record.

It was an en­tirely dif­fer­ent story for the Kelly Road ju­nior var­sity squad.

They won three of their four reg­u­lar-sea­son games, beat their crosstown-ri­val Col­lege Heights Cougars in the ju­nior var­sity North Divi­sion semi­fi­nals and crushed the pre­vi­ously un­de­feated D.P. Todd Tro­jans 36-6 to qual­ify for the pro­vin­cial ju­nior quar­ter­fi­nal.

Their sea­son ended with a lop­sided loss the fol­low­ing week in Ver­non but, win or lose, that play­off ex­pe­ri­ence should serve the Road­run­ners well now that they’re suit­ing up for the se­nior team.

“We have roughly 30 guys re­turn­ing who ei­ther played on our var­sity team or our ju­nior var­sity team that won the city (cham­pi­onship) last year,” said Bel­lamy. “The team looks good this year. We’re pretty deep, well-rounded. We have a good mix of play­ers and we should be a strong squad. I imagine we’ll be one of the top two teams.”

Josh Harder is back as the Road­run­ners quar­ter­back and Cur­tis Zavaglia moves up from the ju­nior team to add to their QB depth. Bren­dan Watt, a Grade 11 line­backer/run­ning back, was picked for Team B.C. as a line­backer and he and Grade 12 run­ning backs Colton Fors and Jor­dan Par­ent give the two piv­ots plenty of op­tions when they want to keep the ball on the ground.

“We’re very ath­letic and we have a good­sized of­fen­sive line so that helps for go­ing a long way,” said Bel­lamy, who has Bren­nan Adrian, Mike Bod­ner, Ken Newell and Ja­son Eikum as his as­sis­tant coaches.

The Road­run­ners be­gin their dou­ble-A var­sity sched­ule to­day at 4:30 p.m. against the Col­lege Heights Cougars on the turf at Ma­sich Place Sta­dium. This is the first sea­son foot­ball games in the city will be played on an all-weather field.

“They’re def­i­nitely hyped up to get out there on that field,” said Bel­lamy. “They put on sec­ondary mark­ings for the Amer­i­can field and the goal­posts are re­mov­able so they can move them up and back so they can ac­com­mo­date for the Cana­dian and Amer­i­can rules.”

The new field at Ma­sich is marked for Cana­dian rules – 110 yards long and 65 yards wide with end zones 20 yards deep. But B.C. Sec­ondary School Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion teams play us­ing Amer­i­can rules, which spec­ify fields that are 100 yards long and 53 1/3 yards wide, with 10-yard-deep end zones. The Amer­i­can field is marked in red.

The Road­run­ners will play a six-game sched­ule with three ex­hi­bi­tion games. They’ll head to Kam­loops next week­end to play the South Kam­loops Ti­tans, then host Clarence Ful­ton of Ver­non the fol­low­ing Satur­day at 5 p.m. at Ma­sich Sta­dium, part of a high school foot­ball dou­ble­header that wraps up with a Salmon Arm-PGSS game at 7:30 p.m. Kelly Road will play the top-ranked Ver­non Pan­thers on Oct. 6 in Ver­non.

The Road­run­ners’ first sched­uled game last week against the D.P. Todd Tro­jans was post­poned due to wild­fire smoke.

The Cougars are com­ing off a 3-1 sea­son which ended in a 31-11 loss in the P.G. Bowl North­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nal. Grant Erick­son and Brad Paakko­nen are back as the Cougars se­nior team coaches.

Jack Page is head coach of the Tro­jans, while Pat Bon­net and Brett Mor­row will be call­ing the shots from the side­lines for the Po­lars.

The Duchess Park Con­dors won’t have suf­fi­cient num­bers for a dou­ble-A var­sity team. The Con­dors pulled out of the league af­ter one game last year and not hav­ing a se­nior team as a des­ti­na­tion for the ju­niors hurt their chances of re­cruit­ing enough play­ers for this year. Like many teams in the north, they were af­fected by smoky con­di­tions the past few weeks which can­celed try­outs and also hurt re­cruit­ing. The Con­dors ju­nior var­sity team, un­der coach Craig Briere, will be well-stocked this sea­son.

The Road­run­ners and Prince Ge­orge Po­lars kicked off the ju­nior var­sity sea­son Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon at Ma­sich.

The South Kam­loops Ti­tans will travel to Prince Ge­orge to play the Nechako Val­ley Vik­ings of Van­der­hoof in an ex­hi­bi­tion this Satur­day, start­ing at 7:30 p.m.

PGSS will be in Chilli­wack Satur­day to play the G.W. Gra­ham Griz­zlies.

We’re very ath­letic and we have a good-sized of­fen­sive line so that helps for go­ing a long way.

— Ryan Bel­lamy

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