No guarantees, of course, but the PGSS Polars and Duchess Park Condors appear to be parked in each other's path on the way to a championship.
The Polars and Condors are seeded first and second respectively in high school football's junior varsity playoffs, which start tonight at Masich Place Stadium. PGSS, which rolled to a 4-0 record in the regular season, will clash with the Kelly Road Roadrunners (1-4) at 7 p.m. Prior to that, Duchess Park (3-1) will battle the Nechako Valley Vikings of Vanderhoof (2-2). That game will start at 5 p.m.
Tonight's winners will book spots in the junior varsity P.G. Bowl, next Thursday at Masich Place.
PGSS and Duchess have only met once this season, and that was in the first week. That afternoon, the Polars outlasted the Condors 28-20.
Both coaches -- Don Williams for the Polars and Mike Rositano for the Condors -- are cautiously optimistic that their teams will meet again, and that the P.G. Bowl will be on the line.
The Polars started the year as an unknown quantity.
"We didn't have a junior varsity team before this, so this is our first year," Williams said. "We were listed as the dark horses and we've had a very good year. We're looking forward to the playoffs, with hopes of being able to win."
Even though PGSS is new on the junior high school football scene, the team is loaded with players who have experience in the Prince George Minor Football Association. Key individuals include Dustin Betker, the quarterback on offence and a cornerback on defence, wide receiver and safety Tyrell Laing, running back and linebacker Isaac Rogers and linebacker Reid Williams. During the season, the Polars found success by relying equally on their passing game and running game and by playing tenacious, well-organized defence. Coach Williams said everything was anchored by the offensive line and defensive line.
"You can't do anything else in football unless those guys are doing their job," Williams said. "They've come a long way."
The Condors, meanwhile, are just as pumped up about playoffs as the Polars.
"Our guys are geared to go so I don't see us losing [in the semifinals] unless we decide we don't want to play," Rositano said.
"They're like a family, the kids," he added. "They love to play together and they have fun doing it. That's the biggest thing and they buy into the program. They understand everything quickly and run the ball exactly the way we want them to. We basically fine-tune them and that's about it."
A couple years ago, several of the current Condors were part of a PGMFA team that won the junior bantam provincial title.
Caleb Cruse is the Duchess Park quarterback and is also a dangerous rusher. Daniel Stratton is another guy who gains plenty of yards on the ground. Unfortunately for Duchess, the versatile Rylan Matters -- who can step in at quarterback or running back and give opposing teams fits -- recently suffered a leg injury and is out of action. But the Condors are deep enough that they should still be effective without him.
"We're not a one-dimensional team," Rositano said. "We have five running backs that can run the ball and we also have five or six receivers that can catch."
Other backs for the Condors include Denver Petersen, Spencer Schouwenburg, TJ Kirakos and Brady Martin. Matt Kelley, meanwhile, is a leader on the offensive line.
The regular season at the senior varsity level is also winding down. Semifinal playoff games are scheduled for Oct. 26 and the P.G. Bowl will be played on Nov. 2.
Currently, Nechako Valley leads the five-team league with a 3-0 record.