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Three Island teams ranked as B.C. high school football season nears

Belmont hosts West Vancouver in exhibition action Friday
The Mount Douglas Rams are back in the top-10 rankings for the B.C. High School Football League. (ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST)

It’s not yet fall but high school football is in the air. Three Island schools have made the top-10 rankings as the 2023 B.C. preseason schedule continues this weekend.

The Mount Douglas Rams are No. 6 in the provincial Triple-A poll, up from No. 10 in the previous poll. Ranked No. 1 are the Vancouver College Fighting Irish followed by G.W. Graham Grizzlies of Chilliwack at No. 2 and Carson Graham Eagles of North Vancouver at No. 3.

The John Barsby Bulldogs of Nanaimo are ranked second in the Double-A top-10 poll, up one spot, behind the top-ranked Robert Bateman Timberwolves of Abbotsford. The Ballenas Whalers of Parksville held steady at No. 9

The teams have been playing a hybrid exhibition schedule this month heading into Double-A and Triple-A conference regular-season opening games next week.

In preseason play, Mount Douglas defeated the Double-A Vernon Panthers 30-0 as Aveer Bajway of the Rams was player of the game. The Rams lost an exhibition 27-12 to Bremerton of Washington state. John Barsby, the 2022 Double-A provincial finalist, beat the Triple-A Mount Boucherie Grizzlies of West Kelowna 44-7 as the Bulldogs’ dual-threat receiver and defensive back Kai Rednour-Bruckman was player of the game and a factor on both sides of the ball. The Belmont Bulldogs were beaten 51-0 by Triple-A second-ranked G.W. Graham.

In preseason games this weekend, Belmont hosts the West Vancouver Highlanders today at 2:15 p.m. at Goudy Field in Langford. Mount ­Douglas plays Ballenas in another ­­Triple-A/­Double-A crossover exhibition Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Parksville. The Nanaimo District Secondary Islanders are at Sardis today to play the Falcons.

The Triple-A regular season opens next Friday with Belmont on the road against the Kelowna Owls, in a game that will be played in Cloverdale. Belmont opens the home portion of the regular season against the Centennial Centaurs of Coquitlam on Sept. 29 at Goudy Field.

Mount Douglas opens the regular season on the road Sept. 29 against the W.J. Mouat Hawks in Abbotsford. The Rams’ home opener is the Island derby against Belmont on Oct. 6 at Royal Athletic Park.

Barsby opens the Double-A season next Friday in Abbotsford against defending-champion Robert Bateman in a reprise of the 2022 provincial championship game. The home opener for the Bulldogs is Sept. 29 in Nanaimo against West Vancouver.

Ballenas opens at home next Friday in Parksville against the Sullivan Heights Stars of ­Surrey. Nanaimo District kicks off the season next Friday in North ­Vancouver against the Argyle Pipers before hosting the ­Windsor Dukes of North Vancouver in Nanaimo on Sept. 29.

The Triple-A and Double-A provincial semifinals and championship games will be played in December at B.C. Place Stadium.