Story and images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
September 6, 2015 Langford, BC (ISN) – Three Vancouver Island teams kicked off their 2015 Vancouver Mainland Football Association fall season Sunday at Westhills Stadium in an afternoon of hard-hitting football action.
Local minor football teams laboured Sunday in season opening play against mainland teams at Westhills Stadium. Connor Wray is blinded sided by Rams defender – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Jr. Bantam Victoria Renegades, Bantam Victoria Spartans, and the Midget Victoria Spartans all got down to business against visiting Vancouver mainland teams. Despite the phenomenal athleticism of the Greater Victoria teams, the lower mainland teams would be too much too handle in opening day action, taking away convincing wins at all three games.
Victoria Renegades vs North Surrey Falcons (0 – 49 )
The Charly Cardillichia-coached Victoria Renegades took on JB North Surrey Falcons. The Renegades, looking to repeat their 2014 BC Championship performance after beating the North Surrey Eagles last year, may have some adjustments to make if they are to return to championship form.
Renegades QB Caeden Reiter is protected by his O-line as he looks for Peter Primeau waiting in the back field – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Renegades, with field general Caeden Reiter under centre, had their hands full against a balanced Falcons football team, unable to find the field position to put points to the board in their 2015 debut. Reiter, part of Team BC’s 2015 U13 squad, would have trouble seeing through the big defensive line pressure of the Falcons early. Finding some success in the running game, Luciano Coombs and Peter Primeau would do most of the legwork up the middle. Connor Pettepiece would also provide a spark, receiving for Reiter to move the sticks.
Renegades Connor Pettepiece eludes the week side defender as he scampers out of harms way – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Despite the gains, albeit short, it was the larger gains by the Falcons running attack that would do in the Renegades. Perhaps avenging their sister team’s championship loss last year, the Falcons would explode for 2 Td’s in the first quarter, a third TD in the 2nd to go up 24-0 against the Renegades. Keeping the pedal to the mat, the Falcons would roll to the 49-0 win.
Bantam Victoria Spartans vs South Delta Rams (6-34)
The Bantam Spartans, full of talent, were no match on the day for last year’s undefeated BC Bantam football champs. The Spartans, looking every bit the contender, couldn’t hold down the powerhouse Rams.
Jarvis Dashkewytch “dashes” for yards as Spartans Max Harris looks to bring him down – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Spartans QB Connor Way, making the shift from Team BC’s LB position, would go head to head with last year’s MVP championship QB Mike Calvert. Way, a product of the Victoria Renegades and the Peninsula Wildcats, looked poised in the pocket against the larger defensive line of the Rams. The Spartans, looking comfortable with a running game out of the back field most of the game, would find the Rams defensive equal to the task most of the game. Spartans Stefan Grunert would be utilized for the bulk of the ground offensive attack.
Spartans QB Conner Way is drilled from behind as he gets ready to send the ball down field – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The fresh-looking Bantam Spartans, looking to improve on their 2014 fifth place finish, would be rocked with five unanswered Rams touchdowns in the first half to go to the locker room down 34-0. In a spirited, stronger defensive 2nd half performance, the Spartans would hold down the Rams offense, preventing any further scoring damage.
The Spartans would deny the Rams the shut out win late in the game when back up QB Jacob Jenish, replacing Way at the helm in the second half, would hand the ball off to Damian McQuaig-Jones, who would turn the corner and run the side lines for the largest single gain on the afternoon, carrying the ball for 45 yds. to the end zone, the last 10 yards with two Rams defenders in tow. The Spartans would fall 34-6 in their first loss of the, yet young, season.
Spartans Damian McQuaig-Jones score the lone TD for his team – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Rams Jarvis Dashkewytch, Max Stalling, Douglas Jameson, Billy Matwichyna, and Andrew Kraft scored majors for the South Delta Rams.
Midget Spartans vs Chilliwack Giants ( 14- 31 )
The Spartans would send QB Brandon Holland to the field to start against the Giants Brendan Briden. Despite a balanced offensive attack the Spartans would find themselves behind early in the game when the Giants QB Briden would hand off to RB Cameron Lampart for their first major, followed six minutes later by a long distance strike to WR Marius Anghel that would put the Victoria Spartans back on their heels late in the first quarter down 13-0.
QB Brendan Holland looks for his receiver downfield – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Despite successful short yardage plays, the Spartans would have trouble converting on third down against a quick Giants’ defensive core. After an impressive, near midfield field goal kick, the Giants ‘ Briden would find Anghel, for his second receiving TD of the game, in the second frame to go up 23-0 at half time.
A Giant, Bret Westad, is taken down by Spartans defender – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
A resilient Spartans defense would step to the table, coming out in the third with renewed determination, holding the Giant’s running game to minimal yards.
It was an uphill battle for the Spartans, but up to the challenge the Spartans were, surging back late in the third quarter from a 23 point deficit, scoring on a short out and run play from QB Brandon Holland to Bailey McMillan who would run the side lines for the 55 yard major to put the first points on the board for the Spartans. The Spartans, giving the Giant’s reason to pause, would add back-to-back TD’s after a Giants’ fumble recovery would give the home team Spartans a short field for Holland to find Hayden Crothers in the end zone to make it a nine point game.
Spartans Bailey McMillan skips out of the reach of Cole Wood, running in for the TD – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Giants would add a touchdown in the fourth quarter to shift the momentum away from the Spartans, and take the eventual 31-14 win.