From literature to film, football on Friday night under the lights has come to represent a near-mythic scenario in North American high school sports. You don’t have to be in Texas to experience it. Just head to Goudy Field in Langford tonight at 7 when the B.C. Triple-A playoffs open with the Mount Douglas Rams hosting the Kelowna Owls.
“It should provide for a great atmosphere,” said Rams head coach Mark Townsend.
“I know all our players are excited to be playing a Friday Night Lights game. It will be an awesome experience.”
The Rams are no strangers to success in the playoffs, having won the provincial high school championship four times in five seasons from 2011 through 2015, while producing numerous U Sports and BCFC junior players and a few pros in the CFL.
Mount Douglas is looking for a return to glory after going 6-2 in the regular season this year, but knows it won’t be easy.
“I have seen improvement in our team throughout the regular season,” said Townsend.
A key, he believes, was the comeback victory to defeat the New Westminster Hyacks in the last game.
“I feel that gives us great momentum going into the playoffs,” said Townsend.
The bench boss listed Aiden Bertuzzi, who plays on both sides of the ball, as a season standout with “a motor that does not quit,” along with fellow two-way player Zairech Kremler. Sebastian Hansen is another all-rounder on offence, defence and special teams.
“[Quarterback] Gideone Kremler played his best game of the year last week against New West and was a threat both running and passing,” added Townsend.
“He carried the team on his shoulders in the second half in the come-from-behind win. We definitely need our best players to be at their best for our team to be successful in our playoff run.”
Kelowna Secondary has produced some strong boys’ and girls’ sports teams the past few seasons, from the fields to the hardwood.
“The Owls are a very dangerous team,” warned Townsend.
“We have a very good team, but we know playing Kelowna will be a challenge for us. They have played the top teams very tough all year. They play an aggressive, pressure defence and have good size and speed. We need to stay disciplined with our assignments. We need to play our absolute best against Kelowna to advance to the next round of the playoffs.”
Meanwhile, in high school Double-A football playoffs, Nanaimo District plays St. Thomas More today in Burnaby, while John Barsby meets Langley Secondary, also this afternoon on the Lower Mainland.