Story and images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
May 21, 2016 Langford, BC (ISN) – The WestShore Rebels Junior Football Club took another step forward toward erasing last year’s memory of a dismal 2-8 BCFC record with what many feel will be a very successful 2016 BCFC football season as coaches completed their vetting process of player hopefuls this weekend as the Rebels football organization broke Spring Camp at Westhills Stadium Sunday afternoon.
The Westshore Rebels completed their 2016 Spring Camp Sunday at Westhills Stadium . QB Ashton MacKinnon hands the ball off during scrimmages that saw impressive play on both sides of the ball. – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca)
Approximately one hundred players from near and far descended on Westhills Stadium and the JC Boice – coached Westshore Rebels program Friday night to kick of the three-day camp looking to impress the coaching staff with their talent, and that talent was evident on both sides of the ball as training got underway.
Rebel hopeful Darcy O’Connor steps around a would be tackler during day two in camp. – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
At the end of last year’s season, JC Boice and the Westshore Rebels embarked on a series of changes, from front office executives, field staff, full time player training facilities, and most importantly, player personnel to put a spark into a BCFC program that has not seen a winning season since the 2012 season when the Rebels went 7-3 under a couple of recently drafted CFL’ers in Greg Morris and Quinn Van Gylswyk.
Head Coach JC Boice addresses the camp with words of inspiration – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
No bigger was a change than the addition of new Associate Head Coach Shane Beatty, a member of the 2015 BCFC champion Okanagan Sun. A vocal presence on the field, Beatty’s successful coaching experience has inspired the Rebels D-line this year. Beatty’s presence is not only felt on the field, but also in the new training facility as the Rebels strength coach. Head Coach Boice would compliment on Beatty’s influence, “ Coach Beatty, in my opinion, is one of the best, if not the best strength coaches in Canada or the U.S. Helping make these players better athletes in the off-season so they can be better during the season is key. “
Associate Coach Shane Beatty discusses the finer points with a defensive lineman – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Those recent executive changes, combined Boice’s long arm in football circles, has attracted talented players from football programs across the country, as well as inspiring play in veteran Rebel players such as O-lineman Aarmin Purewal and 6’11 Jake Hall, who both recently attended CFL BC Lion evaluation camps, along with d-lineman Jorge Monzon-Yarwood and Shaun Robinson.
The 6’5” Mt. Douglas high school alumni Purewall, back with team after deciding to delay his CIS career with the Manitoba Bison, is sure to have an instant impact on the O-line with his toughness, helping protect another Mt Douglas product and Bison recruit in 6”7” QB Ashton Mackinnon.
Rebels veteran O-lineman Aarmin Purewall pushes a defender to the outside away from QB harms way – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Defensive lineman Monzon-Yarwood, one of the more vocal players on the field, could only find compliments for his teammates after going head to head during camp. Not short for words, Monzon-Yarwood would comment, “ I don’t see nobody walking. We got 280 lb. lineman chasing down balls. That’s impressive. They way we move. The way we talk. We respect each other.”
A cohesive team, players from both sides of the ball cheer on thier kicking team in a battle of the strongest leg – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Head Coach Boice like what he saw from the weekends test on both sides of the ball was especially bullish about the offensive prospects on the field. “ We are bullies up front. We are big and nasty up front. They are a tight, tight bunch. We’re going to be able to run the ball very effectively this year. We have two quarterbacks that are sharp in Ashton and Scott. We’re going to be tough.”
QB Ashton MacKinnon delivers the ball over the defensive lineman. MacKinnon finished third in passing yards in the BCFC last season abbreviated by injury. – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
For one of those O-line “bullies”, fourth year offensive lineman Hall, that experience was key as he enters his final season of CJFL eligibility, and with a winning Rebel season on the forefront of his mind he has an idea what he has to do to benefit his team’. “ It gave me a really good perspective of where I need to be to get to the next level of football, and with that knowledge of what my strengths and weaknesses are that will help prepare for the season. I love this game. This being my final year, I have to give it (the season) everything I have. I hope to be able to come out here and be a leader for this team.”
Coach Boice summed up the camp with this statement, “Last year we started the process of becoming a family. We are a family now. These kids are working hard, pushing each other, and living in the moment. We believe we are going to be highly competitive. We are going to give teams a lot to contend with this year.”