OFC GAME PREVIEW: “I would be disappointed if Nipissing were not looking to be the spoiler”

Wolverines eye bounce-back game after suffering first loss of 2016

The Peterborough Wolverines ended up on the wrong side of the score for the first time this season, dropping a heartbreaking 28-27 decision at the hands of the Toronto Jr. Argos in Week 7. This week, they play their final road game of the campaign against the lowly Nipissing Wild.

Head Coach John Parkes blames a few costly errors, and himself. for the loss that now has his club sporting a 5-1 record and sitting in second place in the Ontario Football Conference (OFC) Ramsay Conference.

“The Jr.Argos are full of talent and we knew it was going to be a hard fought game. We made a few errors that came back to bit us, but at the end of the day I take responsibility for the outcome,” he said. “These players work extremely hard for this program, so it is my duty to put them in the best possible position to succeed.”

Parkes also is quick to point out that just because his team was unable to pick up the victory, that does not get in the way of the journey they are on and the identity the team and program is establishing.

“We know who were are as a team and take every step needed to prepare ourselves for the next step, [and] a loss does not change who we are, nor does it change the path we are on,” he expressed. “We knew this season would be about the journey and not the reward. We are a extremely young team with endless potential; where we will be at the end of the season is still to be seen.”

Week 8-1

As the OFC season enters it’s final quarter, teams are undoubtedly beginning to fatigue. Extreme heat and humidity has been plaguing the majority of Ontario throughout the last half of the season. The Wolverines bench boss, though, is confident his team is prepared to finish strong.

“The number one thing about the summer heat is continuous hydration,” Parkes mentioned. “Making sure players know what they are getting into back in March is what gets them ready for the dog days of summer.”

The Wolverines are very thin at quarterback to say the least. They lost their starter, Ryan Astrom, for the season in a Week 4 win over the Oakville Titans. Rylan Gwynn stepped in the next week and performed well in a ‘W’ over the Huronia Stallions. Unfortunately, Gwynn was also injured in last week’s loss to Toronto, and also will not return this season. This means the reigns have been given to third-stringer Chase Batley for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs. Despite being third on the depth chart at QB entering the season, Parkes is optimistic that Batley can get the job done.

“[Chase] is a young man who will not back down from a challenge. He was cool and calm when asked to step up vs the Jr. Argos and I expect the same from Chase as we move forward,” he said. “Our Varsity program is built around the philosophy of ‘the next man up.’ Batley understands this philosophy and embraces this concept as much as anyone. It is the back bone of what has made us the team we are.”

Although the Nipissing Wild come into Week 8 with a rather mediocre 1-5 record, Parkes has been preaching all year long never to take a team lightly, regardless of what their win-loss numbers read. This week is no different.

“1-5 or 6-0 we prepare for what is next. Nipissing has the ability to stretch the field and control a game with field position. They look to have a very good Punter and the ability to pin you deep,” elaborated the sophomore Varsity coach. “It does not matter what a teams record is; at the end of the day it comes down to who wants it the most. This game is as much about preparation as it is about athleticism, and a well-prepared team can shock even the greatest group of athletes. This is a huge part of why I don’t count anyone out. I would be disappointed if Nipissing were not looking to be the spoiler.”

The game takes place Saturday beginning at 2:00 pm from the Trojan Alumni Complex in North Bay.

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