OFC GAME PREVIEW: “They are…a very good team; they have a ton of talent that has been very well coached”

Wolverines face toughest test yet in regular season finale vs. Stampeders

After collecting their second shutout of the season last week, the Peterborough Wolverines get set to face the Burlington Stampeders, who currently sit in a first place tie in the OFC South with the Hamilton Varsity Tiger-Cats.

The Wolverines are coming off a 28-0 victory over the lowly Nippising Wild in Week 8, a game that Head Coach John Parkes says allowed for plenty of players to see the field and be evaluated.

“The Nippising game was a great opportunity to help us keep growing as a team,” he said. “Valuable reps were spread across the depth chart vs Nippising, which is something that will help our players as we move towards the playoffs.”

3rd-string quarterback Chase Batley got the start for the Wolverines in Week 8, after Ryan Astrom and Rylan Gwynn were lost for the season in Weeks 4 and 6 respectively. Parkes was very impressed with the young pivot’s performance, and said he is very confident that he can lead the club to their ultimate goal, an OFC title.

“Chase Batley had a very strong performance vs the Wild. His understanding of what we expected from him kept him in the right place all game,” elaborated the bench boss. “Coach [Andrew] Astrom, our Offensive Cooridnator and Quarterbacks Coach, had Chase well prepared for Nippising. Chase knew when to take the shots and knew when to protect the ball. With Nippising being his first start of the season at QB, it was great for Chase to get the ‘W.'”

Week 9-1

Peterborough has clinched second place in the OFC’s Ramsay Conference and will face North Halton in the conference Semis next week. Many times, when a playoff spot is secure, teams will rest their regulars to keep them healthy for the playoffs. While the Wolverines will take all the precautions necessary to avoid serious injury, they aren’t about to sit their starters for what shapes up to be one of the games of the year.

“We are definitely preparing for the Stampeders. Yes it’s Week 9 and we have already locked in our spot for the playoffs, but we still need to prep for what is next on the journey,” Parkes expressed. “Keeping players healthy for the playoffs will be on our minds and obviously we will do what we can to keep players in the best shape for the playoffs. We learn from every experience we have and that is what we have been doing all season: [taking things] one game at a time.”

Burlington is a perennial contender in the South Division and has always played the Wolverines tough in many down-to-the-wire matches. Parkes expects more of the same this time around.

“We have had the opportunity to watch film on Burlington on several occasions. They are, as always, a very good team,” he stated. “They have a ton of talent that has been very well coached. I expect they will show up to play us with the same intensity they have always played us with.”

Coming into 2016, the Varsity program lost the majority of its 2015 squad, as many moved on to CIS schools across the country to further pursue their gridiron careers. That in mind, it was thought by many that this summer would be full of growing pains and be somewhat of a rebuilding season. The coaching staff, however, didn’t share that same thought. Coach Parkes could not be happier with what has transpired this season and points out that the prospects are high for 2017.

“So far the season has been very fulfilling, as we have seen a lot of growth out of our players. As coaches we have never looked at this season as a rebuilding year; it has always been about the journey and how far can we make our journey go,” he said. “With our entire coaching staff planning on returning for 2017, as well as 30 of our 39 [current] players, we will be setting things up very nicely for next year. Additions from the JV team and local high schools will help us round out what should be a very strong team in 2017. To date it has been a gratifying season and having an idea of what the future holds for this program makes things exciting for everyone.”

The season finale for both the clubs kicks off Saturday at 5:00 pm from Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School in Peterborough.


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