Story and Images by Erich Eichhorn (Island Sports News)
September 16, 2012, Langford, BC (ISN) – The Westshore Rebels (5-1) clinched a playoff spot Sunday with a 48-41 win at home against the Kamloops Broncos in the feature BCFC game of the week at Bear Mountain Stadium.
With a Rebels win and an Okanagan Sun loss, Rebels are now assured that they will get to play ball in the post season.
The visiting Broncos stepped onto the field at Bear Mountain Stadium on a four game loosing streak while the Rebels had not been beaten in their last 5 tests. From the opening drive, Rebels starting QB Mark Black would march his team down field, establishing a ground game with the always-dangerous Rebels running back Greg Morris. Morris came into the game with an amassed 573 yards so far on the season. Black would take a few pointers from teammate Morris and run for 25 yards of his own to set up a 17 yard pass to “QB-turned-receiver” Cat Tordorovich for the home team’s first score of the game at the 11:06 mark of the first quarter. Greg Morris would add a touchdown in the dying minutes of the first quarter when he would turn on the jets for a 35-yard run to the house.
Greg Morris would rush for almost double the Broncos game total in the 1st half before being asked to sit down -– Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The Rebels defensive wall held strong against the Broncos, not allowing them prime field position most of the half, forcing them to kick the ball away often, and most importantly, keeping them off the scoreboard. The Broncos, with something to prove, wouldn’t give up, and finally put points on the board in the second quarter on a touchdown throw from the Broncos QB Connor Whitelaw.
QB Mark Black would find Vinnie Cannata, his first score of the game, and Cat Todorovich for his second major of the game, to finish the half with the Rebels up 34-7. After the touchdown Todorovich would be ejected from the game for taunting, much to the disagreement of Rebels Head Coach Cardilocchia. “Garbage, just pure garbage. There was nothing there. I’ll have to watch the film, and if I’m wrong I’ll personally apologize to the referee, but I didn’t see anything there, anything worthy of an ejection”.
Vinnie Cannata would help the Rebels with 2 TDS on the afternoon vs the Kamloops Broncos -– Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
If the Broncos had something to take away to the dressing room at the half it was that they were able to get to Rebels kicker Quinn Van Gylswyk, blocking 2 touchdown converts in the half, and totaling 3 blocks in the game. Rebels QB Mark Black would leave the game after the 1st half after throwing 9/18 for 158 yds. and three touchdown passes, handing the Rebel offensive engine over to back up QB Mike Dumesnil.
The second half would start with Rebels Head Coach Cardilocchia resting some of his starting line up and substituting his reserves in favor of giving them some game time and some “love” with the playoffs now within their sights.
Rebels QB #6 Jesse Herman would hand off to Greg Morris, and pass to Vinnie Cannata, both for their second touchdowns of the game to widen the scoring gap to 48-7.
Rebels Running Back Paul Fletcher runs through Broncos Grady Chalmers – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The Broncos coaching staff may have seen something in the Rebels changes, as the Broncos would almost pull off the unthinkable comeback win. The Broncos would stun the Rebels normally stingy defense with 2 large downfield throws to convert for touchdowns within a 3 minute time period, and a 93 yard kick off return by Broncos Derek Apps that set up the major, all in the 3rd quarter to mount a comeback bid.
That, coupled with two perfectly set onside kick recoveries for possessions, and ultimately for touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and the Rebels fans had seen their team’s lead disappear with the score now 48-41 with 1:21 remaining.
The Rebels offensive line dug deep in dying moments of the game, holding off the reenergized Bronco defense, electing to run out the clock and taking the win to the dressing room.
Vinnie Cannata hauls down this Mark Black pass. Cannata would finish with 2 Tds on the afternoon against the Kamloops Broncos – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
When asked about the 2nd half let down, Coach Cardilocchia would comment, “It was like we were 2 different football teams on the field…we made some changes at the half but kudos to them (the Broncos), they never gave up, they played hard and they came back. They threw a scare into us at the end. This game will give us alot to look at”.
The win gives the Rebels a 5 game winning streak that has not been matched by a Rebels team in eight years.
Next game (away): Sept 22nd vs Chilliwack Huskers