Story and Images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
August 11,2013 Victoria, BC (ISN) – After two disappointing losses to open their 2013 season, the Westshore Rebels looked to right the ship against a tough Okanagan Sun football team Saturday afternoon at Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC. Despite renewed efforts, the Rebels would drop their third game of the young season 37- 26.
After last weekends trouncing by the 2012 BCFC champion Langley Rams 69-10, the Rebels were ready to come to the field with a statement game against the undefeated Suns. Nobody thought that statement would start with words “Hunter Lake”. The Rebels, with both QB’s Mark Black and Mike Dumesil injured, would make a game day decision to put receiver Hunter Lake in drivers seat of the Rebels offense.
Rebels tacklers Jordan Fontaine and Kris Briggs take down Suns ball carrier Dillon Fortune – Erich Eichhorn image (wwww.allsportmedia.ca)
When asked about the game time decision Lake would comment, ” It was a bit of a shock. I practiced as a backup last night for the first time all season, so I got a couple of throws in, but this morning caught me off guard. We have a great team of starting QB’s, and I knew one of them had a sore shoulder, but I thought he was good to go today.” Lake would confide that the quarterback position is not new to him, having played that position in past years on other team, but only in a reserve capacity and not since midget league play. Lake would throw for 200 yards, on 19-31 attempts and rush for 127 yards.
Rebels Head Coach Tim Kearse bellows instructions to his defensive unit. The Rebels would show a much better game Saturday against the Okanagan Sun despite a 37-26 loss – Erich Eichhorn image (wwww.allsportmedia.ca)
Despite the team loss, the Rebels may miss a receiver, but in turn, may have found an answer to their offensive shortcomings in a fleet-of –foot QB. The Rebels, under Lake, would look, to many, like a different team on the field against the Suns. It was apparent early in the game that for both teams it would be a matter of who blinks first as both teams would trade ball possession early in the game until the Rebels defense would leave Suns receiver Tommy Howes in the open downfield as Suns QB Theo Deezar would capitalize on the error, finding him for the major and the only points of the first quarter.
Rebels Eric Eggleston runs away from a Suns DB Robbie Yochim. Eggleston would hook up with Lake in the forth quarter on a 33 yard touchdown pass – Erich Eichhorn image (wwww.allsportmedia.ca)
Rebels newly found QB, Hunter Lake, would find his stride in the second quarter, using his legs to buy his receivers the time to shake the Suns defense core, moving the sticks into the Suns end, giving the Suns defensive coaching staff fits. Lake would find Sean Shepherd and Emanuel Juma on short yardage plays half way through the second quarter to pull even with the Okanagan Suns after the Suns Deezar would add another touchdown on a running play by Dillon Fortune. The agile Lake would use his receiver talents, scrambling away from pressure to extend the Rebels play for first downs, advancing the ball against the visiting team.
Hunter Lake, the Rebels new interim QB, gives a thumbs up to his wide reciever. Lake would complete 19-31 pass attempts for 200 yards in the air, and add another127 yards rushing – Erich Eichhorn image (wwww.allsportmedia.ca)
A late Rebels defensive error would give the Suns late field position on the Rebels 7 yard line, and the eventual go ahead touchdown with only thirty-four seconds remaining in the half, pulling ahead 21-14 to end an entertaining first half of Rebels football.
Rebels QB Hunter Lake, uses his reciever skills, used his legs to scramble with the ball often, making the Suns defense chase him most of the game – Erich Eichhorn image (wwww.allsportmedia.ca)
The Rebels defense would continue their tenacious presence on Okanagan offense in the second half, as the Suns, after a Rebels safety in the third quarter, could only find the house once in the last half, and settle for two field goals on missed opportunities to runaway with the game. The Suns would hold the Rebels off the scoreboard in the half, holding onto a 30-14 lead into the final quarter. The Rebels, riding on Lake to the bitter end, would continue to hammer the ball up field, adding two more touchdowns on late strikes to Eric Eggleston with 3:23 remaining in the fourth quarter, and then a thirty five yard Lake pass to Niles Goguen in the back of the end zone with 39 seconds remaining. Unsuccessful attempts to cash in on conversions from those late scores would leave the Rebels with a respectable 37-26 loss.
Rebels #91 Nevil Meyer gives a forearm shiv to his Suns counterpart, knocking him back – Erich Eichhorn image (wwww.allsportmedia.ca)
In retrospect, when asked about Hunter Lake and the team’s effort against the Suns, Coach Kearse would summarize by saying, ” I think the team at least tried to play sixty minutes. In the third quarter we went backwards on offense that put the defense in a tough situation, we go down sixteen points. If we don’t do that we have an opportunity, if we don’t drop two touchdown passes I think we have an opportunity. Those are the things in a football game. We have to be able to overcome them.” About any possible QB controversy, he would add, “There’s never a controversy. If anyone watched the game tonight, is an astute football fan, Hunter is the quarterback. He will be the quarterback next week (against the Rams) “.
Despite the loss, the Rebels served notice that they can play with the best in the league, and can only look to better things in future games with the same type of effort.
The Rebels would finish the afternoon with 373 total yards on offence, while the Suns would tally 391 yards.
Rebels next game is Saturday, August 17th at 2:00 pm, in a rematch against the Langley Rams at Westhills Stadium.