From The Holy Grail of Subway Bowl! Why it means the world for B.C. high school football teams to play games at B.C. Place Stadium

November 21st, 2018

Photo by Howard Tsumura,

The following is an excerpt from an article by Howard Tsumura. To read the full story, visit

VANCOUVER — It’s one thing to enter B.C. Place Stadium by purchasing a ticket and clicking through the turnstiles. 

It’s entirely another thing to appear there via earned invitation on a Saturday in either late November or early December. 

The Dome? 

It’s the Holy Grail of B.C. high school football.

Today, the four head coaches who lead teams into the semifinal portion of the B.C. Double-A championships, set for this Saturday, reflect on the true meaning of a trip on the team bus to 777 Pacific Blvd.


Rob Stevenson has always seen the game he coaches from its widest possible angle, innately appreciating how all the significant levels of importance combine to produce an environment where so many of our most important traits can be both polished and sharpened.

So ask him about the meaning a Subway Bowl playoff game at B.C. Place carries for him, and all you need to imagine is this large man looking skyward and spreading his arms as wide as they will go.

“What is neat is that when you get under that roof, you know you have earned your place inside,” says the head coach of Nanaimo’s John Barsby Bulldogs, who face the Vernon Panthers in a 1:30 p.m. semifinal on Saturday. “You can also be very confident that your opponent has done the same and when the whistle blows, it doesn’t matter where you are from, where you come from in society, what your story is…it’s just two great teams out there on a level playing field competing mentally and physically, measuring themselves against one another where the rules are the same. It is a meritocracy and it is beautiful. Pure competition. Win or lose on the scoreboard, the game was played between two red-hot teams and settled fair and honest. The memory resonates for a lifetime and in retrospect, it was played by ‘winners’ against ‘winners’. Simply love it!”

Very simply, if that doesn’t make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, you need to check your pulse.

Stevenson is not only a masterful orator but a person who taps into the true meaning of Subway Bowl season.

And while his teams have been among the tier’s most frequent visitors, as both junior and senior varsity teams, getting the chance to help a class of newbies make their first trek to this gridiron Mecca can also be awesome.

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