They've got a rookie quarterback and only eight returning players on a team of 23, but don't tell the Nechako Valley Vikings of Vanderhoof.
They're doing quite alright on the football field with their young team so far. Today at 4:30 p.m. at Masich Place Stadium they'll see how far they've progressed against the undefeated Duchess Park Condors (3-0).
Vikings head coach Dave Moore knows what to expect from the Condors this afternoon and he says it's no fluke they're still undefeated. The Condors took their lumps in exhibition games against top-ranked John Barsby of Nanaimo (losing 81-0) and Robert Bateman of Abbotsford (a 43-6 defeat) but that experience is paying off for them in the Northern Conference.
"They're a well-coached team and they've seen some high-level competition," said Moore. "Their left tackle [Brogan Cruse] is definitely going to be a factor but they've got some other players like Mitchell Schultz, a good linebacker/defensive back [who ranks second in the league with 29 tackles].
"It's going to be a close game, I think we'll be quite competitive with Duchess. [Quarterback] Rylan Matters is pretty steady and pretty athletic but if we can get the pressure on him and get him scrambling that will put a damper on their pass game for sure."
After dropping their opener 16-7 to the defending-champion College Heights Cougars on Sept. 13 the Viking have since reeled off consecutive victories, 14-12 over Kelly Road and 33-0 over Correlieu.
The Vikings depend heavily on their running game and Siemens has been the leader in that department with 128 yards on 16 carries, averaging eight yards per carry with two touchdowns. Blake Kingsley and Becket Fawcett have 90 and 58 yards on the ground respectively in three games and McKay Jensen is also in the mix with 47 yards on 13 runs. Jensen has been quite effective catching passes as a tailback and leads the Vikings with 10 catches and 241 yards.
The Condors have outscored their opponents 133-19 in three games, led by a battering ram at running back, TJ Kyriakos. He has 40 fewer yards than Matthew Pike of Kelly Road, the double-A varsity rushing leader with 501 yards, but Kyriakos is averaging 12.81 yards per carry, finding the end zone for three rushing touchdowns and two TDs through the air.
Matters is the top-ranked passer in the league, averaging 250 yards per game (752 yards total) with a 68.3 per cent completion ratio. He's thrown for nine touchdowns and has no interceptions. Siemens is right behind in second place with 413 total yards, tossing four TD passes and three interceptions.
The Vikings relied heavily last season on their defence and it got them all the way to the PG Bowl final, a game that ended in an 8-0 loss to the College Heights Cougars. As the second-place finisher, the Viikings went to BC Place Stadium for the provincial preliminary-round playoffs, where they lost 44-13 to Mission.
"We're by far the smallest school in B.C. double-A varsity football, I think Mission had more Grade 11 and 12 male students than out whole school population," said Moore. "We've got 64 Grade 11 and 12 males and we're bringing up a few junior varsity players just to get them a bit of game experience. "
In the late game at 7 tonight, the Correlieu Clan of Quesnel takes on Kelly Road Roadrunners.
College Heights and the Prince George Polars met in an evening game at Masich on Thursday.