August 26, 2106 Langford, BC (ISN) – The Westshore Rebels are revisiting territory not seen from the south island team since their 2012 season as they improved to 5-1 Saturday with a 45-28 win over the winless Valley Huskers of Chilliwack.
With the win, the Rebels sitting in second place, are in good standing to flirt with there 2012 season final 7-3 record that saw the team enter the playoffs only to be defeated by the Langley Rams in the semi-finals of the Cullen Cup.
After the Huskers tested a Rebels team, perhaps a little road-weary, last weekend in Chilliwack in the first of their two regular season meetings, the high-flying Rebels looked refreshed to be back playing in their own back yard.
Rebels running back Jamel Lyles had another dominating performance for the red and white, literally running away from the field for four touchdowns, and another two majors in an all for not effort that ere called back on penalties. Lyles, head and shoulders ahead of the next closest competitor, is leading the BCFC in rushing with 1066 yards, and with four games remaining is on pace to break the BCFC rushing yards record set in the 2000 season by Matt Medwick of the Valley Huskers with 1592 total yards.
The game, much a carbon copy of last weekend’s first half of game one in Chilliwack, saw a Husker team continue to test the Rebels secondary with success as Chilliwack Husker QB Noah Falconer would open the scoring with a pass deep to Mike West, beating the defender down the sideline for the major. The Huskers, keeping pace with the Rebels through the first quarter of play, would draw even 14-14. Jamel Lyles and Ashton Mackinnon would rush to the house for the Westshore side. Elijah Falconer would the recipient of another Noah Falconer pass in knotting the first quarter score.
Westshore QB’s Ashton Mackinnon and Scott Borden would share game duties under center, as the Rebels would look to establish a complimentary passing game in the second quarter. The Rebels would surge ahead in the second frame on an 66-yard strike from MacKinnon to Nathaniel Pinto. Pinto has been clutch for the Rebels this season when needing to move the sticks. Now a utilized scoring threat, Pinto has added a new and welcomed look in the Rebels receiving core to compliment their running game.
With time winding down in the half the Huskers, hemmed in on their own six yard line, would be forced to kick the ball away in to the wind and into the hands of the awaiting Lyles with eleven seconds remaining. Lyles, doing what he knows best, would run the rock back thirty five yards for his second TD of the game on the punt return to put his team up 28-14 going to the locker room.
The Huskers would come out fast in the second half, as Falconer would hook up with West again for his second TD of the game on another sideline strike for 49 yards. After a taking the ball to the one-yard line, three consecutive Rebel penalties would back up the home side for negative yards. Settling for a field goal on the missed opportunity the Westshore would take a 31-21 lead.
Jamel Lyles would be set free from the back field again with 1:37 remaining in the third, running forty yards for his third and final TD on the afternoon, putting his teaming up to a comfortable 38-21 lead. In his performance Lyles would compliment the support of his O-line, “ I can’t believe my offensive line. Whenever we call a play they say just follow me, I got you. I just have to be patient and wait for the hole they create for me.” Explaining what drives him game in and game out Lyles would add, “ I definitely had the mindset coming into the season to set my standards high. I always want to reach for the ceiling, and try to break through it.”
The Rebels, despite strong defensive play, would continue to have concern with costly penalties. Jamel Lyles, running forty yards for what was to be his fourth TD in the game, would be negated for a second time on the afternoon with another Rebel penalty. Trying to atone for the losses, the defensive line would also show resilience in the fourth quarter let by DL Kent Hicks. Hicks, the CJFL’s outstanding defensive lineman 2 weeks ago, would recover his own punt and create a Husker fumble on another play to ignite his line. The defense following his que would jump on two additional Husker fumbles in the final quarter to keep the ball out of the ever-dangerous Falconer’s hands.
With 1:14 remaining in the fourth quarter, and the game in hand, Ashton MacKinnon would drive his team from midfield down to the one-yard line, and on the QB keeper would dive over the line to put a Rebels stamp on the game 45-21.
The Huskers, showing grit and determination, would answer one final time in the dying seconds Falconer finding a receiver Ryan Beaubien over the middle at the Rebels twenty yard line, running it in for the final score of the game 45-28.
Mixed in his assessment of the game, head coach JB Boice would comment, “ I’m going to stay on the positive. I’m proud of our run game and our guys up front, but we’ve got a lot of clean up work to do. We have to do a better job of throwing the ball. We’re young. We’re learning how to win. Every week is a fight and chance to get better. I feel our kids responded. When we needed to be tough and make plays, we did.”
Looking forward to the marquis match up against the undefeated Okanagan Sun on September 10th and what could be a preview of the BCFC final, Boice would add, “ We look one game at a time. Our coaching staff is going to go to work. Our players are going to go to work. and this crowd is going to be in for a treat. We’re going to play some very good football.” In their first meeting the Rebels were narrowly eclipsed by the Sun 27-21 in Kelowna.