Week 8 had a little bit of everything during the first ever inter-conference regular season play.
Some good news obviously for certain clubs this weekend, but absolute disaster for others.
The VI Raiders haven’t had a lot to be happy about this season, inconsistent play has plagued this young club all season. Heading into a home game against the high flying, high scoring Westshore Rebels had negative outcome written all over it. To make matters worse, defending a franchise perfect home record against their island rivals perhaps put more pressure on the 2016 edition of the Raiders
The tie clinched a play-off spot, but that was likely coming anyway. This game was bigger than that. This game was about pride and confidence, something that can go a long way come play-off time and for 2017.
The first line in the Nanaimo News Bulletin story on the game asserted that “this time there were no winners and losers in the battled of the rock.”
True, there wasn’t a loser in the battle, but the Raiders were a winner this day.
The Sun have now dropped two straight. They no longer control their own play-off destiny and need help to catch the Rebels for first place. And let’s not forget the fact they are now tied with the tough Langley Rams meaning even hosting a semi-final game is far from a sure thing.
A loss at the hands of the storied Saskatoon Hilltops franchise is one thing. The confidence pounding they endured in a 56 point spread is entirely another.
The tie against the VI Raiders in their afternoon game didn’t really affect them in the first place race. What it likely would have done is keep the players a bit humble, which is never a bad thing when a game kicks off. JC Boice is probably thinking just that today.
By the end of the night the Okanagan Sun had lost and the Rebels were in first place.
The day really couldn’t have gone better for the Rebels.
Okanagan Sun boardroom
We might seem to be piling on the Okanagan Sun a bit, but let’s put their 58-2 loss to the Saskatoon Hilltops in perspective, beyond what happened on the actual gridiron.
The Okanagan Sun agreed, perhaps even offered to take on a schedule massively more difficult than their BCFC counterparts had in playing the Saskatoon Hilltops rather than the Valley Huskers.
Making a decision that they felt was good for the league overall was admirable. But in doing so, they put their own coaches and players in a difficult position. Had they played the Valley Huskers they would today be sitting at 7-1. Instead they are 6-2, in second place and likely travelling come play-off time.
Sun coach Ben Macauley is publicly saying all the right things when he asserts the Hilltops game showed how far his team has to go, it can be a good thing in the long run etcetera. Still, he and his troops were handed a different set of cards by his own organization than his competitors were by theirs.
This isn’t the NCAA where standings and bowl game placements are partly determined by voting and schedule difficulty. This is the BCFC where wins and losses mean everything.
I might get fired by putting my employer in this list, luckily we are all volunteers so the salary I would lose is right around $0…
The original proposal by the Canadian Junior Football League was for a full interlocking schedule this past weekend with all 6 BCFC clubs taking on all 6 PFC clubs. The concept was shot down by 4 of the 6 BCFC teams mainly for two reasons. One, the uncertainty of costs for what may be a one year experiment with the Ontario Football Conference returning in 2017. And two, because of the concern that the PFC is admittedly a stronger conference and that a crossover arguably didn’t benefit our conference. The thought was discussed among some BCFC teams that the PFC was pushing crossover to display its dominance in order to assist its efforts to dissuade high school players from their areas from venturing to our conference.
The PFC is a stronger conference than the BCFC, anyone who denies this is kidding themselves. The PFC has a massive leg up due to the strength of its grass roots football. See previous BCFC story. Unless there is drastic change at all levels, from grassroots minor football to the CJFL itself, the PFC is going to win 80%-90% of the national championships with the BCFC and OFC taking the occasional crown.
We can of course make efforts to close that gap, but regardless we still offer our players an outstanding football opportunity and environment. At the end of the day only 1 PFC team is going to win it’s conference crown, just like ours.
The experiment of 2016 will possibly/likely be a one and done. This unfortunately means that 50 years from now when those involved with junior football ask;
“Why don’t they play regular season interlocking between the BCFC and PFC?”
“Well back in 2016…”
We could also have slotted the Langley Rams here. Quarterback Robertson arrived in a Rams jersey in his club’s win over the Raiders a couple weeks back. He led the Rams to another win with another solid performance against the Broncos (16 of 27 for 242 yards and 3 TDS).
A Langley Rams defensively tough team now has a gun slinger to get the ball to a talented set of receivers.
The next few weeks in the BCFC are going to be interesting.
Winnipeg Rifles and Saskatoon Hilltops
Yes, both these team won big on the weekend, but they still had to get on planes to go back to Winnipeg and Saskatoon.
Old joke we know, but after taking our lumps this week it’s all we got.