Barsby Bulldogs player Justis MacKay-Topley runs with the football during a special-teams run-through at practice Tuesday at John Barsby Secondary School.

Barsby Bulldogs player Justis MacKay-Topley runs with the football during a special-teams run-through at practice Tuesday at John Barsby Secondary School.

High school football starting

AA varsity and junior varsity teams from John Barsby Secondary School and Nanaimo District Secondary School kick off pre-season play .

Back to school means back to the gridiron.

High school football won’t waste any time getting started, as the AA varsity and junior varsity teams from John Barsby Secondary School and Nanaimo District Secondary School kick off their pre-seasons this week.

Rob Stevenson, coach of the two-time defending AA varsity B.C. champion Barsby Bulldogs, said he’s excited that football season’s back.

“The coaches and players are hungry to go out and measure themselves again,” he said.

He set up a challenging pre-season for his program, with the juniors hosting St. Thomas More Collegiate on Wednesday (Sept. 9) and the varsity ’Dawgs travelling to play the Vernon Panthers on Saturday.

“We picked a couple of opponents for our JVs and our varsity that are going to expose us as much as them and give us a road map forward from there,” Stevenson said.

He said the AA varsity Bulldogs are “coming along great” and said the immediate tasks are to narrow the gap between the first-team players and backups, and also cross-train players at other positions on the football field.

The NDSS Islanders juniors visit Robert Bateman on Thursday and the AA varsity Isles play at Earl Marriott on Friday.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo News Bulletin