Barbs power past Blue Jags to claim Howard Russell Cup

Jack Carson shies from the “Next One” label. But that might be increasingly hard to do for the Oak Bay rugby captain and Canada U-18 player.

Carson paced the Barbs in the 2019 Howard Russell Cup Lower Island high school championship game with a 43-7 victory over host St. Michaels University School on Thursday.

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The final featured two historically powerhouse programs that have contributed numerous national team players for Canada at the World Cup.

“The boys think it’s really cool when our alumni stay involved and come out to help at practice,” said Carson.

This generation isn’t too bad, either, as Carson was named the Don Burgess Trophy winner as Lower Island player of the year.

“Jack is one of those athletes who seems to be in complete control of the game around him,” said Oak Bay co-coach Peter Atkinson.

“When he has the ball, time seems to slow down.”

Oak Bay is the defending B.C. Quad-A champion after interrupting the Shawnigan Lake School Stags’ formidable run of eight B.C. titles in nine years.

Carson was one of five Grade 11 starters last year for Oak Bay, and he scored the first two tries in the all-Island 2018 B.C. final that keyed the Barbs’ upset of the Stags.

“That experience has helped us a lot this season,” he said.

Carson is the last of this generation of his family to play for the Barbs after older brothers David and James and older cousins Matthew, Chris and Nick. In a previous generation, dad Jimmy Carson and uncles Don, Frank and Len Carson played at Oak Bay.

“It’s a really unique [familial] situation and I am proud to have been part of it,” said Jack Carson, the only backfield player in the family.

Cousin Nick Carson was named Vikes rookie athlete of the year this season. But Jack Carson will follow his brothers David and James in becoming a UBC Thunderbird.

Meanwhile, the Claremont Spartans defeated the Belmont Bulldogs 48-21 in the Col. Hodgkins Cup Lower Island bronze-medal game Thursday at Goudy Field.

The Island championships are next Thursday with Oak Bay and Shawnigan Lake meeting in the Quad-A final at 4 p.m. and SMUS and Brentwood College in the Double-A final at 2:30 p.m., both at UVic’s Wallace Field. The Triple-A final is between Claremont and Nanaimo District on Wednesday at 4:30 at Shawnigan Lake.

The B.C. championships are May 29 to June 1 at Rotary Bowl Stadium in Abbotsford.

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