Strike-delayed football season kicks off

SURREY – With the teachers’ strike over, high school football can officially start in the province’s largest school district.

Even though other districts were able to start their season on time thanks to community volunteers, Surrey schools couldn’t participate due to a rule that forces teachers to be present for extracurricular school programs.

This rule forced Surrey schools to miss the first week of league games as well as any practices and pre-season games they might have had.

Kurt Thorton, head coach of the Lord Tweedsmuir team, said that the BCTF would’ve considered the teachers crossing the picket line had they gone ahead with practices and games.

“We weren’t going to cross picket lines to hold practices or play games. We were actually quite surprised how many programs ran,” Thorton said.

Thorton, who coaches the only Surrey team in the AAA Varsity league, said the team has “done pretty much what they could” despite their late start and said it could affect how their season goes.

“I analyzed our season last season and I think we kind of peaked around week 6 (or) 7,” said Thorton. “With a seven-game schedule, if we can get a couple wins under our belt and start to roll later in the season, it may be good timing for the playoffs.”

The Panthers’ head coach also mentioned his team was glad to put the pads back on, but it has become an adjustment to players who have had to run longer practices to make up for lost time.

He also said that it was tough to start the

season against provincial title contender Terry Fox Secondary. Lord Tweedsmuir lost last weekend’s game 42-9. Duane Linnen, who coaches the Frank Hurt Hornets, said it has been tough to go so long without his team getting any game action.

“It’s been really tough because it was almost a month and some time before we got into our first game,” he said.

The Earl Marriot football program has been under the control of Michael Mackay-Dunn for the last 10 years, and he said that it is frustrating dealing with the strikes as they always land during football season.

He also said that it was a shame that Surrey schools were unable to start the season and that it put them in a tougher position compared to other schools.

“It did create a divide between ourselves and some of the other teams,” said Mackay-Dunn.

However, he said that a few of his senior players took control and held a few practices to introduce the playbook to the new players during the strike.

Scores, schedule Scores for Surrey/North Delta high school football games from Sept. 26 to 28 (home team on left): Lord Tweedsmuir 9 – Terry Fox 42 South Kamloops 18 – Frank Hurt 21 (exhibition) G.W. Graham 31 – Seaquam 13 (exhibition) Holy Cross 0 – Mission 49 (exhibition) Earl Marriot 28 – Howe Sound 6 Upcoming games: Rutland @Lord Tweedsmuir – 3 p.m. Oct. 3 Holy Cross @Frank Hurt – 1 p.m. Oct. 4 Hugh Boyd @Seaquam – 1:30 p.m. Oct. 4