Story and Images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
July 28, 2013, Langford, BC (ISN) – An island football rivalry was rekindled Saturday night at Westhills Stadium as last years BCFC 2nd place finish Vancouver Island Raiders, and the Westshore Rebels kicked off another season of exciting BC Football Conference junior football action.
After dominating the Rebels last season, as they did most teams, many in the BCFC may have questioned whether the era of Raider football supremacy was over after loosing 14 veteran players including CJFL throwing legend Jordan Yantz. For the Rebels, who last year would rely heavily on the running prowess of alumni RB Greg Morris, his loss would mean a big pair of running shoes would need to be filled this year. Accompanied with two head coaching changes for the Rebels before the beginning of this season even started, calling it a “rebuilding” season may be less than an acceptable truth for the Rebel faithful, but let’s remember that one game does not make a season as both set their season in motion, at Westhills Stadium, with much to prove this season.
Rebels DB Joseph Cavilla wraps up the ever dangerous Dustin Rodriquez during the season opener between the VI Raiders and the Westshore Rebels in BCFC action – Erich Eichhorn image
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Rebels veteran reciever Eric Eggleston tries to pull down the Mark Black end zone from behind a Raiders defender. Many vocal Rebels fans would call this defensive interference, but could not sway the referee to change his mind – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The Raiders, led by the fleet-footed QB Jarmari Bennett, would go head to head against Rebels QB Mark Black. Bennett and his O- Line would take advantage of the seemingly smaller defensive line of the Rebels, finding the end zone for a 14-0 lead on a sixteen yard running play by RB Taylor Flavel on the first possession of the game, and a 18 yard toss from Bennett to Dustin Rodriguez with 9:04 remaining in the first quarter. The Raiders would add two more points to end the 1st quarter in dominating fashion with a 16-0 lead as the Rebels struggled against a physical Raider defensive line. In a penalty riddled second quarter, the Rebels would get on the board, taking advantage of the Raiders’ spells of momentary lack of discipline. When asked at games-end about the Raiders’ discipline Coach Blokker would comment, ” our discipline was horrible. Taking six penalties after the whistle, you can’t do that if your going to win in this league at all. That’s what I was worried about most. We’ll deal with that on Tuesday night (practice night) that’s for sure.”
CIS veteran and new Raiders QB Jahmari Bennett, in a starting role for Raiders Friday night at Westhills Stadium, uses his legs to advance the ball for his team – Erich Eichhorn image
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Rebels Chris Pastro and teammate Mitch Ottosen put the hit on Raiders RB Andrew Deleon – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The Rebels would punch through for the touchdown when, after a Raider unnecessary roughness penalty, Rebels RB Terry Houngbo-Gody would find a goal line seam in the Raiders defense for the major with only 2:04 to go in the half. After recording his first of two picks on the evening, Rebels Joe Barkhouse would put his team within field goal range for RB Emanuel Juma to bounce one in off the cross bar, making the score a respectable 16-10 for the Raiders.
Vancouver Island Raiders RB Taylor Flavel finds open field making Rebels Brandon Dugaro miss on the tackle. Flavel would score the Raiders first touchdown of the season on a 16 yard romp to the house – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Rebels new running back, Emanuel Juma, from the Ontario Varsity Football League, is taken down by Ash Gayat of the Raiders – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The Rebels defense would stiffen up in the third period, holding Raiders to single point. Rebels LB Chris Pastro, voted the Rebels Most Valuable Player of the Game, would provide a spark for his team with open field tackles and an interception in the Raiders side of the field at the 35-yard line. The Rebels Bennett, perhaps feeling the Raiders pressure, would give up a Raider’s interception on the next play to deflate the Rebels momentum and wake up the Raiders offense. Bennett, after orchestrating a down field march would take the ball himself, running it 17 yards into the end zone (23-10) to start a Raiders fourth quarter push that would see his team score the next 12 points, keeping the Rebels from finding the house. The Raiders would close out the game with an impressive Vancouver Island Raider 35-10 win.
Viewer Even Rebels game MVP, shown here with the hit on Taylor Flavel, could not hold down the high octane Vancouver Island Raiders as the Raiders would take the season opener 35-10 Friday night at Westhills Stadium – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Asked about his teams overall performance the Raiders Coach Blokker would finish by saying, ” I think both teams would agree it definitely had the feeling of a preseason game. We have a lot of work to do if we’re going to compete next week up in Kelowna. I liked the way we played the second half; I thought we got our spirit a little more. Got a little more physical and took over a little bit. Overall, lots of negatives, lots of positives, but at this time of the year that’s how it goes”.
Westshore Rebels next home game: August 10th vs Okanagan Sun
V.I. Raiders next home game: August 10th vs Langley Rams