Shall we dub it the Black Tusk Bowl? The Corridor Cup?
Call it what you want — the opening chapter in a new Sea to Sky football rivalry will be written on Saturday (Oct. 27) in Squamish when the Pemberton Grizzlies take on the Howe Sound Sounders for the first time.
“It’s the start of a regional rivalry, for sure. A lot of the kids know each other from the different communities,” said Grizzlies head coach John Burleson. “(Howe Sound) is a school that’s been doing football for a long time; this is our first year … and I think they might have already pencilled in a ‘W’ there, but we’ll have something to say about that on Saturday.”
Made up of high school-aged players from Whistler, Pemberton and Mount Currie, The Grizzlies wrap up their inaugural season with Saturday’s game. With all road match ups for their first year — most taking place south of the border against American teams — it will also be the closest thing the Grizzlies have had to a home game so far.
With no long trek for the Grizzlies this time, Burleson is hoping his charges can bring a high-energy effort to a game that might also be a battle against the elements, with rain and cold in Saturday’s forecast.
“Certainly, not having to travel eight hours for a game is going to make a huge difference,” said Burleson.
The Sounders will come into the contest as the favourites with a solid 3-2 record on their B.C. High School Football Tier II season. But the Grizzlies have grown tremendously over the past few weeks and become a much deeper and mature team, said Burleson.
“If we hold on to the football and execute what we’re capable of doing, I really feel like the Grizzlies are going to represent our community well,” he said.
“This is the first time there’s ever been a high school football game played between these two communities and it’s just a great opportunity for the fans in Pemberton, Whistler and Mount Currie to come out, support their kids and see the improvements this team has made.
“They’ve worked really, really hard, we’re really proud of them and it’s a great group of kids.”
Saturday’s kick-off time is set for 1:30 p.m.
Minor Titans snare first win
The Sea to Sky Titans Minor-aged team broke its goose egg in the win column on Sunday, posting their first victory of the North Shore Football League season.
Nolan Welsh scored his second touchdown with less than two minutes to play, powering the Titans past the North Vancouver 49ers, 32-26. Hunter Verner also scored a pair of majors — one on a kickoff return and one through the air from Jack Forsyth — while Nolan Robinson Nault added another touchdown.
In Peewee play, the Titans got a touchdown from Jhett Verner and more than 50 yards rushing from Scott Friestadt, but suffered a 30-6 loss to the West Vancouver 49ers. The team is now 4-2-1 on the year.
The flag-division Whistler Saints remained unbeaten at 6-0 after a 32-6 triumph over the North Vancouver Packers. Quinn Goertson, Griffin Brown, Dane Kirkegaard, Josh McKenzie and Trenton Schumann all found the end zone in the win.