Images and Story by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
August 3, 2014 Victoria, BC (ISN) – It wasn’t the home opener the Westshore Rebels were hoping as they dropped to 0-2 with a 39-9 loss to their island rival Vancouver Island Raiders Saturday (1-1) night at Westhills Stadium, but is apparent that it’s just a matter of time before the Rebels find their stride.
Rebels Johnny Quan (ball carrier) takes a hip check from Raiders Fabian Ross during BCFC action Saturday night at Westhills Stadium – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Rebels fell behind early to last years second best CJFL team in the country, but battled valiantly to try to keep pace. The Vancouver Island Raiders would take advantage of a recently retooled Rebels team early picking off the Rebels QB Hunter Lake on their first ball possession, setting up the games first touchdown on a 17 yard toss from Raiders QB Liam O’Brien to receiver Owen Redlick with 8:43 remaining in the first period. O’Brien would take advantage of the Rebels secondary, adding three more majors before the end of the first period on strikes to Kaelen Botel and Alex Kutra. Raiders RB Nathan Berg would find his own way to the end zone on a 7 yard run. The Raiders would enjoy a 26-0 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
Raiders Nathan Berg, running for 31 yrds on the evening, shruggs off Brandon Nelms’ tackle – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Rebels defensive core would tighten down on the Raiders in the second holding them off the scoreboard. Veteran LB Chris Pastro, perhaps making a statement in his final year, delivered a few crushing tackles that left the partisan Rebels crowd hoping for more.
It was a great night of football entertanment at Westhills Stadium as stands packed with fans cheered on their favourite repective teams – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Rebels QB Lake started to find success through the air finding Tanner Rodinsky 26 yards down field, eventually putting the Rebels in scoring position. Knocking on the Raiders door at the one-yard line, the Rebels would be turned away on an impressive goal line stand by the defensive Raiders. Despite the turn back, the Rebels would enjoy success in the hurry-up offense with the half winding down.
Rebels Griffin Dear fights to bring down the Hunter Lake pass with Linden Klein on his back – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Rebels would get two chances at the house with four minutes remaining. QB Lake, deep in the Raider end, would be picked off by the opportunistic Raiders on the 10-yard line. Getting the ball back once more with time expiring in the half, a well delivered ball to the end zone would be knocked down to end the half.
Rebels QB Hunter Lake looks down field for some of his game high 437 yards passing – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Lake, finding late first half success, would continue with what he knows best. Lake would start finding his recievers, putting up 297 yards passing in the 2nd half alone. Finding his timing first up the middle with new receiver Griffin Dear, Lake would air out the ball for a fifty-one yard reception to another newcomer in receiver Nathan Leader. Leader would come away with a game-high 211 yards pass receiving.
Griffin Dear was almost home free but Linden Klein prevents a sure touchdown with this shoestring tackle – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Rebels #3 Nathan leader doesn’t give up easy as he runs for additional yards. Leader would “lead” pass receiving in the game with 211 total yards – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Rebels would amass 453 net yards offense to the Raiders 403 yards total. Normally that would be enough to win any game, unfortunately the Raiders defense would better the Rebels offense when it counted, denying any meaningful scoring drive.
Raiders Owen Redlick pulls down the Liam O’Brien pass over the shoulder of defender Kevin Gabirel – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
After holding the Raiders to just one touchdown in the third frame on a 45 yard catch and run by Arthur Fabbro, the Rebels would finally get on the scoreboard in the final quarter. The Rebels, with the Raiders looking to pass out of their own end zone, would once again turn up the defense pressure picking off an O’Brien shovel pass in the end zone for what was thought by Rebels fans and some Rebels players to be a Tanner Rodinsky touchdown. That notion was overruled as a safety tackle to put the first two points up for the home side. The VI Raiders’ Michael Richott would answer with a punctuated reply on a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown to increase they lead to 39-2 late in the quarter.
Rebels Johnny Quan skips out of one tackle, looks to the waiting Fabian Ross for the next – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Rebels QB Lake would continue his relationship with his receivers in the waning minutes of the game, marching downfield to finally break the end zone on his own QB keeper, rushing in from the one-yard line for the diving touchdown. After a loss to the Langley Rams last weekend, the Raiders take away their 1st win of the young season, while a young Westshore Rebels team assuredly take away some valuable game experience going into next weekends tilt against the Chilliwack Huskers.
Arthur Fabbro was a thorn in the Rebels defensive secondary, catching for 78 yards in the game – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Westshore Rebels next travel to Chilliwack August 9th to play the 0-2 Huskers, while the Raiders play an away game against the Okanagan Sun.