Practise makes perfect for the Ballenas Whalers senior football team this week as they head into action this Saturday against the Westsyde Blue Wave in Nanaimo.
Kickoff has been moved ahead to a noon start time and will be played at the Merle Logan turf field in Nanimo, giving both teams the same advantage, field wise, throughout the game.
The decision came after a rather sloppy, and lopsided, home field advantage went the way of Nanaimo’s Barsby Bulldogs a few seasons ago.
This lead to a rule change that now has all playoff teams playing their games on turf surfaces, allowing for equal footing for all.
“We’re going to be ready, regardless of where we play,” head coach Jeremy Conn said.
“We’ve got our style of game and that’s what we’re going to be going with. We had a great week off and we’ve been practising hard to prepare for this weekend.”
The Whalers have moved their practices to Springwood Middle School, where the field is a little more suitable for their needs and allows them to practise under the lights at night, if the time calls for it.
Coach Conn and his Whalers team know that preparation, both mental and physical, is a big key to coming out ready for this weekend’s big match against the Westsyde Blue Wave team out of Kamloops.
“They’re an athletic team, there’s no hiding that,” Conn said.
“If we can keep up how we’ve been playing on both sides of the ball, we should have a good chance at coming away with a win this weekend.”
“It’s a good thing to have the team game coming together at this point in the season and we’ll look to continue that trend.”
Having rallied off five straight wins in to finish out there season, the Whalers had a lot of success as a team and that has translated to some of their very own players being rewarded for all the hard work they’ve put in this season.
Coltin Laplante, Steve Martin, Nick Cessford (offensive linemen), Jonah Hay (defensive lineman) and Cobby Stubbins (defensive back) have all been named Western Conference All Stars for the season they had as individuals. On top of that, Laplante was named the offensive MVP after having a season that saw him rush for over 1,500 yards to go along with 18 touchdowns in the regular season.
The running game has been a big key to the Whalers success this season and it’s no secret that their game plan will go through their two-headed monster of Tyson Low and Coltin Laplante. The offensive line has created ample opportunity for the Whalers running game to find success this season and that’s the recipe they’ll need to have this weekend in order to have a chance at advancing to the next round of the playoffs.
“We’re going to stick with what we do best, pound the ball on the ground,” Conn said. “Control the ball on offense, have an aggressive defense and execute on special teams. Bring the intensity and have everyone do their job, that’s what we need.”