Story and images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
April 28,2014 Langford, BC (ISN) – One thing is evident as the Westshore Rebels broke spring training camp last Sunday at Belmont Secondary High School, returning Rebels veterans will be called upon to mentor their experience to a cast of new freshman player talent to fill the 2014-2015 Rebels roster.
A mix of freshman and Rebel vets took to the field last weekend for the Rebels spring camp in hopes of making an impression on the coaching staff – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The B.C.F.C. Westshore Rebels held it’s annual spring training camp last weekend for returning players, high school and senior midget players looking to crack the roster of the local Canadian Junior Football League team.
In a rebuilding year, the Rebels are looking for that mix of veteran experience, youth and athleticism. Pulling from local island talent, the Rebels have no shortage of players looking for a chance to wear the red and black. With the whoops, hollers, and hits on the practice field, there was definitely an air that some special could happen for local football fans this season. New Rebels co-coach Andrew Axhorn believes that the team’s success will start with the vets. “It has to start with the vets. If I can make the vets believe in me then I can get the rest of the new guys on board. It’s making them believe that I have the player’s interests in mind. It’s always about the players. Making them better. I’m not here for myself, ” said Axhorn.
A Rebel hopefull scans his options downfield looking for an open reciever – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Loosing six cornerstone players to graduation last year, the Rebels will rely more than ever on longtime committed veterans like linebacker Chris Pastro, who is possibly playing in his final year of eligibility. No stranger to a leadership role, the 22-year old recognizes the importance that his continued mentorship means to his younger, talented teammates. “I’m hoping for a pretty big leadership role. These young guys, they’re all coming out of midget and high school. It’s a big step. I remember when I did it five years ago. It took me a little while to get there, and hopefully with some of the older guys and my leadership it (the transition) won’t be too bad (for them),” Pastro said looking forward to his role.
Five year veteran lineman Chris Pastro offers “mentorship” to a quarterback hopefull Saturday at Belmont high school field – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The Rebels will also rely on the added coaching mentorship in last year’s defensive team coach and now co-head coach Tom Fong, and several assistant coaches including the outstanding Rebel WR alumni Eric Eggleston as coach of the receiving core.
Chris Pastro held back just enough as he tackles the quarterback, lifting him off his feet – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Axhorn is looking to not only bring respectability to the field, but also to the local community. The Rebels, recognizing their value in the community, will also look to be as much a presence off the field as on the gridiron. Recently, many members participated in a blood donor drive to help the Canadian Blood Services bring awareness to the need for blood donations in the area.
A defenders outstretched arm just misses knocking down a well-thrown ball – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
”When asked about community support and his team’s participation in the drive coach Axhorn would comment, “We first have to prove ourselves to the community. I think in times past there has been a let down by this team in the community, and we, as a team, have to prove that we are good for the community. If we want the support of our community, we are going to have to take a big step forward. If we want the support of our community, we have to be able to help our community.”
Spring camp was no cake-walk for the Rebel hopefuls as every scrimmage play would be scrutnized – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The Rebel’s season kicks off July 26th in Kamloops against the Broncos. Their first home game will be played August 2nd against the 2013 Canadian Bowl runner up Vancouver Island Raiders.