Come rain, fog, snow or ice, the P.G. Bowl will be played tonight at Masich Place Stadium.
The Duchess Park Condors completed a perfect 7-0 season and are heavily favoured to defeat the College Heights Cougars in the B.C. High School Football Association Northern Conference final, which starts at 7 p.m.
The Condors have completely dominated the Northern Conference this season, scoring 321 points while allowing only 46 in seven games. Based on that stat alone, the Condors are likely to advance to the provincial playoffs next Friday against the winner of the all-Surrey Holy Cross-Frank Hurt playoff game this weekend.
But stranger things have happened on the high school football field and the Condors don't plan on taking the Cougars lightly.
"I expect College Heights to be a tough team to play, they're well-coached and I think they will give us a good challenge," said Condors head coach Mike Rositano. "We have 22 set plays and we've been running the same plays all year long. It's perfection watching the kids run them in practice. There's no stopping them, so I hope we're starting to peak at just the right time."
Condors quarterback Rylan Matters is the top-rated double-A varsity pivot in the province with 1,480 passing yards, a pass completion rate of 69.6 per cent and 21 touchdowns through the air with only one interception. He was invited to the Top Gun football camp in the U.S. over the summer and has excelled in his Grade 11 year.
T.J. Kyriakos leads the Condors with 869 rushing yards (third in B.C.) and eight touchdowns. They also have the province's highest-rated receiver in Caleb Cruse, who has 549 yards in five games, an average of 109.8 yards, and six touchdown receptions.
On defence, Mitchell Schultz, Brogan Cruse and Joel Bundock rank 1-2-3 in the province with 64, 61 and 51 respective tackles. Cruse has 14 quarterback sacks and one fumble recovery while Burdock has recovered three fumbles.
"The big thing with my guys is they're dedicated, we average anywhere from 33 to 38 players at practice and we're able to work on all our systems and the kids really buy into what we're doing," said Rositano.
The Cougars (6-1) are the defending P.G. Bowl champions, having defeated the Nechako Valley Vikings last year in the final, played in Vanderhoof. College Heights has qualified for the championship in seven of the past 10 years.
The Cougars defence is led by senior Daniel Blondin, who had 50 tackles in five games. David Williams has been getting the job done as the Cougars QB, passing for 740 yards in six games, fourth among double-A quarterbacks. He's been handing off frequently to Blondin, who has 454 yards on the ground on 102 carries, an average of 90.8 yards per game. Ben Stratton is the Cougars' most dangerous receiver, with 28 receptions for 462 yards and two touchdowns over six games.
The Cougars have won five straight but had a tough time last week beating winless Correlieu 21-14. College Heights needed a last-minute touchdown to nail down the victory. In the only other meeting this season between the two teams, on Sept. 20, the Condors defeated College Heights 44-12.
"We're not the same team we were in Week 2," said Cougars coach Grant Erickson. "Who knows what can happen, the weather can play a factor, kids get injured, you don't know what's going to happen, that's why we play the games.
"The last time we played them the half-time score was 12-6 for Duchess Park and our guys remember that. They started rolling in the second half. That Ryan (Condors quarterback Matters), once he gets going, he's good."
The Cougars have won the PG Bowl four times, while the Condors have hoisted the trophy once, in 2007.
n The battle for third-place bragging rights was supposed to be settled prior to the P.G. Bowl but that game has been cancelled due to travel issues with the Nechako Valley Vikings. The third-place Vikings (3-4) were supposed to meet the fourth-place Kelly Road Roadrunners (3-4). The Roadrunners are coming off a 14-13 win over the Vikings last Friday.
n The junior varsity P.G. Bowl championship featuring the first-place Prince George Polars (8-0) against the second-place Duchess Park Condors (6-2) will be played Saturday at 7 p.m., also at Masich Place Stadium. Both teams will advance to provincial playoffs in Kamloops next Thursday.