The Prince George secondary school Polars have one goal in mind this season - to win the P.G. Bowl.
The Bowl, slated this year for Oct. 30, is a one-game playoff between the top two regular-season teams in the Northern High School Football Conference to determine the playoff champion.
Last year, the extra game wasn't played between PGSS and the Duchess Park Condors so they could both save themselves for the grueling provincial playoffs. Instead, the regular-season game between the teams determined the P.G. Bowl champion, where the Condors defeated the Polars 21-16 in one of the best games of the season.
Today, the Polars are a year older and wiser with plenty of talent.
They kick off the season Saturday afternoon in Quesnel against Correlieu secondary.
"We have a core group of kids who've played together the last three or four years," said offensive co-ordinator Don Williams, who'll be on the sidelines with head coach Brett Morrow, who's also the defensive co-ordinator, and linemen coach Pat Bonnett. "Two years ago this group won the junior varsity P.G. Bowl, they've played minor football and now they're at the senior level."
The Polars, made up of Grade 10, 11, and 12 athletes, are coming off a 23-23 tie against Rutland secondary in an exhibition tilt Saturday in Kelowna.
Williams said they'll take that result since the Polars are a double-A squad while Rutland competes during the regular season in the next highest tier at triple-A.
Kaiden Witso, a Grade 11 student, will lead the offence as the starting quarterback. Joining him in the backfield are tailback Isaac Rogers and fullback Trent Price, both seniors.
Witso can also toss the ball to receiver Noah Williams, a Grade 10 student who made Team B.C. for the last two years.
"The receivers will play a big part in our game and, last weekend Trent had 220 yards against Rutland," said coach Williams. "Isaac couldn't make it, so Trent filled in at tailback. We're looking for them to have really good years."
On the other side of the ball, opposing offences will have to watch out for middle linebacker Reid Williams and defensive tackles Nick Von Beiker and Rylan Anderson.
The top two teams in the northern conference will qualify for the double-A provincial playoffs.
This year, the Polars have enough guys, 23 in all, in Grades 8 and 9 to form a junior varsity squad, something they didn't have last season.
The JVs edged Rutland 16-14 Saturday in preseason play. Their season begins tonight against the Kelly Road Roadrunners at Masich Place Stadium (7 p.m.)
Guiding the squad is head coach and defensive co-ordinator Tom Heinzelman, with Matt Isenor as offensive co-ordinator.