Junior Bantam Vikings stood fourth in provincials this year held on Nov. 16 in Kamloops, B.C.
“Our kids always give a hundred and ten percent. They have been together for a while, so they have a good team concept, they work together and support each other,” said Phil Turgeon, coach of the team.
The team started practicing for the 2019 season and played seven games against Prince George, who are the only other team in the league.
Junior Bantam Vikings have been regional champions for three years straight. But to beat teams at the provincial level, there are a lot of other factors that come into consideration, Turgeon said.
Having two teams in the league also means the athletes don’t get to see a variety of plays.
Apart from that, giving the team exposure by taking them for different competitions around the province can be financially challenging, Turgeon added.
However, some players are graduating next year and there are 14-15 athletes who will be in grade 9 and can play junior varsity. This year, Nechako Valley Secondary School didn’t have enough players to make a junior varsity team.
There are a lot more northern teams in junior varsity, so the team will get more exposure there, the coach added.
“Some of these boys haven’t lost a single season game in three years apart from provincials. They work really hard on fine tuning their techniques and working as a team,” he said.
The format for the provincials organized by BC Community Football is a little different from regular football.
Turgeon said the teams compete in mini games where there are 20 minute run time games, so it is quick and a little difficult to coach.
“Everyone needs to get a minimum of five plays, 20 minute run time, so it is a little chaotic. This then gives you seeding for shootout.”
“Each team gets one possession from the twenty and tries to score,” the coach said.
The NVSS team came out of the mini games in third place and played the Richmond Delta in the shootout, where they lost.
Jayden Buchanan was picked by BC Community Football as the MVP for the tournament.
“It was an honor to coach them and definitely a very good season.”