The Ballenas Whalers AA senior football team will be playing its annual Border Battle against their bitter rivals from the south, the John Barsby Bulldogs, at the Ballenas Secondary field on Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.
The Whalers are expecting this classic showdown to be extra intense because last year, they upset the football powerhouse by a narrow 35-34 scoreline. It was the first win for the Whalers in the series in eight seasons.
Head coach Dan Smith said Ballenas has been training and preparing for this day. To gauge the Whalers’ mettle, Smith said, they’ve set up non-conference matches against AAA teams and recorded a 49-8 win against Nanaimo District Secondary and dropped a close game against the West Van Highlanders, losing in the last minute, 22-20.
This match against the Bulldogs is the Whalers’ first conference game of the season and both teams are expected to come out in full force. Ballenas and Barsby are battling for bragging rights, and it will also set the tone for the football season ahead.
“Friday will be a battle for sure as Barsby is a well-coached, tough opponent,” said Smith. “We will have to be at our best to win. It’s been a bit challenging the past couple of weeks as there have been quite a few players missing practice as there has been lots of sickness going through the team.”
The Ballenas Junior Varsity took on John Barsby Bulldogs yesterday at Ballenas. (At press time, the results were unavailable.)
However, the junior Whalers, despite being light in numbers, said Smith, also had a good summer camp and had been competing well against AAA teams. They beat West Van 48-6.