Down. Set. Hike!
These three words will soon be replacing the sounds of soccer at SASCU Little Mountain Sports Fields as the Shuswap Bantam Chargers minor football team are set to kickoff their season this Saturday.
This year will be a little different for the Chargers compared to their past seasons.
For the first time, the Bantam Chargers will be taking part in the Vancouver Mainland Football League, instead of the Southern Interior Football League.
“Unfortunately there was no Bantam division in the Interior league this year, but luckily the Mainland league took us in and are able to accommodate us,” said Rob Ellis, Shuswap Minor Football vice president and Bantam coach.
The Chargers will start their season at 1:30 p.m. on home turf versus the Meadow Ridge Knights from Maple Ridge.
The Chargers will play 10 games in total. Six will be in the Lower Mainland while the other four will be home games at SASCU Little Mountain Sports Fields.
“The only time we have played teams from the Lower Mainland is in provincials, so this year will be a very challenging but fun year for us.”
Ellis says the Chargers have a fast and big squad with lots of returning players that will allow the team to be competitive in the new league.
“These are the best teams in the province, the competition level will be higher than last year, but I know the team is up for the challenge.”
Also hitting the gridiron this weekend are the Jr. Bantam Broncos and the Peewee Colts as they take on the Vernon Magnums in Vernon on Sunday.
“The Broncos look like they will be very competitive this year. They are 30-men strong this year and they have good size and speed,” said Ellis.
On the other hand, the Colts are “brand-spanking new” says Ellis.
He says there are only two or three returning players to the Peewee roster this year.
The Broncos and Colts first home game of the season won’t be held at Little Mountain until Sunday, Sept. 20.