Story and images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
July 16, 2016 Langford, BC ( ISN ) – After a disappointing performance in last year’s British Columbia Football Conference season finishing in 5th place, the Westshore Rebels are definitely ready to meet, head on, all takers as July 24 marks the home opening of the 2016 Rebels season against the Langley Rams at Westhills Stadium.
QB Ashton MacKinnon and the Rebels prepare for their season opener against the Rams with confidence – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Last week a rejuvenated Rebels program gave local media a look at this seasons roster during on-field fine tuning in preparation to take on the perennial, BCFC top three contender Rams.
For most teams, taking on the Rams in the opening draw, may be daunting to say the least, but for the Rebels there is an air of confidence, bordering on a reserved giddiness, that may have something to do with the off season efforts of Head Coach C Boice, Assistant Head Coach Shane Beatty,and the Rebels executive to surround the organization with talent on and off the field.
Head Coach JC Boice directs his offensive line – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Rebel’s 2016 recruiting class, with a mix of both local and import talent, and boasting size and quickness on both sides of the ball, have turned many heads in the lead to next weekends tilt and have been marked by many as a team to watch this season. The BCFC has gone so far as to mark four of ten Rebels games as games to watch this season.
The Rebels defensive squad was put through their onfield paces last week in preparation for the upcoming BCFC season – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Not to overlook receiving core and secondary lines, the “biggest” change is across the offensive line. The Rebels are boasting size that should give second year starter and Mt Doug alumni, 6’7” QB Ashton MacKinnon plenty of protection and time to see down field. MacKinnon, despite missing the end of last season due to injury, boasted the third best passing yards total in the BCFC with 1817 yards completed through the air. In protection, MacKinnon can rely on local Victoria products like 6’11 305 lb Jake Hall, 6’6” 305lb Christian Hall ( Mt. Doug ), and the svelt, 6’5” 290 lb Armin Purewal ( Mt Doug ) to name just a few.
MacKinnon gets some reps behind his offensive linemates – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca)
QB MacKinnon, careful to choose his words, has nothing but confidence in his O-line’s ability, and the team’s performance looking forward. “ Our line’s huge. We expect some big things from them this year. I have no doubt in our O-line,” MacKinnon would compliment. With a smile, he would add, “They’re a bunch of animals out there. With the training and talent brought to the team this year we’re going to be a totally different team.”
Working out the bugs on the O-line – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The defensive line, it to, will be a chore to push around. Large bodies, with experience and mobility on the line will be sure to help the quickness of a talented defensive back core. Assistant head coach Shane Beatty, stressing perfection and discipline in practice, is sure to keep a tight reign on a gritty and explosive tackling squad. Players such as 6’ 290 lb DL Zakarij Major-Piercey, 6’4” 270lb DL Jorge Monzon, and 6’6” 260lb DL Connor Whitney will be called upon to break down the opponent’s offensive line.
When Coach Shane Beatty speaks, his D-men listen very closely – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The defensive line work out on hand drills and body positioning – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
A swarming defense leads to a pic for teh secondary during a practice srimmage – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
A Cullen Cup appearance, the goal of every BCFC team, is certainly a lofty one for a team that finished with just two wins last season, but, as many in BCFC circles believe, that may not be out of the relms of possibility for the Westshore Rebels this year. Time, one game at a time, will tell how teams will match up to a Westshore team that, united, believes in their coaches, their players and their ambitions.
Stay tuned to ISN this BCFC season for game recaps and information.