Its weekends like this that junior football programs either get excited about because it signals the start of the second season or lament because graduating players are getting ready to pack up and leave the organization.
The game of football is as much about bonds that can last a lifetime as it is about the game on the field. The Valley Huskers and Kamloops Broncos will play for the final time in 2016 this weekend. No doubt it will be a bit of an emotional time for some of the graduating players.
Football season just isn’t long enough.
Saturday, Oct 1 @ 1PM
Exhibition Stadium, Chilliwack
VI Raiders (4-4-1) @ Valley Huskers (0-9)
Lifetime head to head: Raiders lead series 15-1
It’s easy to say this is a mean nothing game. The VI Raiders are locked down safe in the play-offs at 4th place with nowhere to go up or down. The Huskers are going to finish in last place in the BCFC for the third straight season.
But don’t kid yourself, this game is important to both teams.
The Huskers are sitting with an 0-9 record but in a lot of games the club has played pretty well and showed better than the record would indicate. But at the end of the day, out of the play-offs is bad for a team in the off season when recruiting begins. Winless is worse. A victory over the Raiders would be a major, major positive for the Valley Huskers. It would give the team something to feel good about and can go a long way in convincing a player eligible to return in 2017 to wear Husker green and black again.
The VI Raiders are playing their best football of the season and of course want to keep it up heading to the play-offs. Couple that with the fact that no team wants to lose to a winless team and a Raiders win would avoid a first ever losing record for them… you know the island squad will be coming at the Huskers hard Saturday afternoon.
Players to watch
Rodriguez leads the conference in receiving yards with 750 and has 40 receptions on the season. 40 is a nice milestone for a receiver, but 50 is better. If the Raiders are out in front do they try to feed their vet the ball?
Probably not, but worth a look to see what happens late in the game if he is close.
This rookie sits third in conference receiving with 693 yards and 44 receptions to go along with 6 touchdowns.
He was also one of the most vocal against the mid-season dismissal of head coach Jason Quinter as he had been recruited by the disposed coach. The 50 catch mark is in site for him as well, but more importantly is the body language of a player who will be a vital piece of the Huskers offense in 2017 if the club is to continue its rebuild.
Convincing a player like West that there are promising days ahead and that his leadership, not to mention talent will be valuable to the club is critical once the season ends.
Nanaimo Vs Chilliwack / Valley Huskers
2005 – 2016 – Raiders overall – 15 wins – 1 loss – 0 tie
Raiders home record – 10 wins – 0 losses
Last home win – August 6, 2016 (55-24)
Last home loss –
Raiders road record – 5 wins – 1 losses
Last road win – October 3, 2015 (38-9)
Last road loss – August 11, 2007 (14-11)
Points scored for – 855
Points scored against – 91
Raiders – 5 shutouts recorded
Raiders – times shutout 0
Raiders Largest win – 85 to 0 (2012)
Raiders largest loss – 14 to 11 (2007)
Raiders most points for in a game – 85 (2012)
Raiders most points against game – 24 (2016)
Saturday, October 1 @ 4PM
Westhills Stadium, Langford
Kamloops Broncos (2-7) @ Westshore Rebels (7-1-1)
Lifetime head to head: Rebels lead series 18-6
No video stream this week. Will return for Rebels home play-off games
The Westshore Rebels made headlines in their city for all the wrong reasons this week with a story in the Goldstream News Gazette about a funding shortfall. There isn’t cause to panic in the Victoria suburb if you are a Rebels fan. The club’s financial woes are not news to those in the inner circle of the BCFC as the organization has been in a financial repayment plan to the conference the past 3 seasons after parents stepped in to save a franchise that was on the verge of folding. New President Doug Kobayashi was brought in this season for his business expertise in another step in the right direction.
The team will finish the season and will be on the field in 2017. The upcoming home play-off gates will be a welcome site to the Rebels as this is when a junior football team turns a break even or $ losing season into the black. The story was an effort by the Rebels to let the businesses in their city, as well as the ticket buying public know that they still have a way to go financially and this is the perfect time to “jump on the bandwagon” so to speak.
If you haven’t been to a Rebels game at Westhills Stadium or others in the conference, you are missing out. The junior stadiums and fan atmospheres are the best in the country when the stands are even close to full.
Now that the commercial is out of the way, what does this game mean? Technically to both teams nothing in the standings. The first place Rebels and 5th place Broncos are not going anywhere in the standings.
Pride is on the line for the Broncos, and a real opportunity to steal a win in an upset as these teams match up pretty well. It was a shootout when they met in Kamloops. Home field advantage is worth something of course, but if there was ever a game where a team might be looking past its opponent this is it.
Rebels running back Jamel Lyles would establish a new conference rushing record with 147 yards Saturday. You can bet the Broncos defense would love to leave him short of the mark. They can likely expect a healthy dose of Lyles early as Rebels head coach JC Boice will be looking to get his star out of the game as soon as possible with the play-offs looming.
Players to watch
The Rebels offense is rolling right now. The running game really isn’t on the same plane as the others in the conference and the passing game seems to be reaching new levels the past few weeks.
Over the past 3 games Pinto has 12 receptions for 440 yards (36.7 AVG) and 4 touchdowns.
Angrove’s name will likely come up in defensive player of the year conversation as he has been outstanding in the Broncos secondary this season. A sure tackler, he leads the BCFC in interceptions with 8.
The Broncos will need a big day from him in both facets if they are to come away with a win Saturday on the island
Westshore Rebels Vs Kamloops Broncos
2001 – 2016 – Rebels overall – wins 18 – loss 6
Rebels home record – 10 wins – 3 losses
Last home win – September 28, 2013 (22-20)
Last home loss – August 29, 2015 (37-36)
Rebels road record – 8 wins – 3 losses
Last road win – August 13, 2016 (45-32)
Last road loss – August 8, 2015 (60-11)
Points scored for – 864
Points scored against – 501
Rebels – 4 shutouts recorded
Rebels – times shutout 0
Rebels Largest win 59 to 1 (2001)
Rebels largest loss 60 to 11 (2015)
Rebels most points for in a game – 59 (2001 / 2009)
Rebels most points against game – 60 (2015)
Sunday, October 2 @ 1PM
Apple Bowl Kelowna
Langley Rams (6-3) @ Okanagan Sun (6-3)
Lifetime head to head; Sun lead 38-14-1
The Okanagan Sun and Langley Rams franchise have a long history, dating back to the days when the Rams called Bear Creek Park in Surrey home in 1988. They have played many regular season games with play-off implications, none bigger than this Sunday’s tilt.
It’s a matchmakers dream as they will go at it again in a semi-final game in two weeks. This game will decide if the elimination game is back at the Apple Bowl or Macleod Athletic Park in Surrey.
The Rams are coming off a tight loss to the Westshore Rebels, in a game that cost them first place aspirations. This game is just as big if not bigger as they would love nothing more than to force the Sun onto their fast artificial turf home track. Quarterback Tommy Douglas(who the Sun have yet to face is coming off a rough outing against the Rebels (13 of 25, 140 yards and 3TDS). Look for a stronger outing from him Sunday as he will look to connect with his favorite target Khalik Johnson.
Still no sign of running back Nathan Lund who suffered a turf toe injury last week. He hasn’t played since August 13th against the Huskers. If he suits up this week he brings a whole new threat but you have to wonder how game rusty he would be.
The Okanagan Sun is reeling after 3 straight losses of all varieties. A tight road loss to the Rebels, an embarrassing blowout at home to the Saskatoon Hilltops, and last week an upset in Nanaimo in a game that could have turned the club in a positive direction.
In the last two losses to the Hilltops and Raiders the passing game is 19 of 51 for 265 yards and 3 interceptions. The Rams defense is tops against the pass and also #1 overall in yardage overall in the conference. Both Sun quarterbacks Foster Martens and Keith Zylahave struggled of late. One or both of them is going to have to play much better or the Sun offense will be in for a long day.
The Rams and the Sun met on the final day of the regular season at the Apple Bowl in 2012. The Sun was in the midst of its worst ever season and would finish 3-7 when the Rams crushed them 46-8 on this day. Sun head coach Gavin Lake would be fired a day later and the Sun were bounced in a semi-final in Nanaimo a week later by the VI Raiders.
Rookie head coach Ben Macauley’s job is likely safe, but if the Sun lose this game it would be its 4th straight defeat. It would be hard to imagine the club recovering to beat the Rams in their park when the second season begins.
Players to watch
The Rams have a solid passing game and a powerful running back in Joseph Carter. Fullerton is a punishing tackler and is second in the conference in interceptions.
Look for him to keep Rams receivers heads on a swivel Sunday afternoon
A strong cover man for his club, he has yet to register an interception this year. This could be the proverbial game of inches. If he grabs his first Sunday, it could be a game turner.
He has not been his usual end zone finding self this year on punt returns as well. Is this the day?
Langley Rams Vs Okanagan Sun
1988 – 2016 – Rams overall – wins 14 – losses 38 – ties 1
Rams home record – 7 wins – 19 losses
Last home win – August 2, 2014 (33-20)
Last home loss – August 27, 2016 (15-10)
Rams road record – 7 wins – 19 losses – 1 tie
Last road win – October 13, 2012 (46-8)
Last road loss – August 15, 2015 (32-7)
Points scored for – 940
Points scored against – 1493
Rams – 0 shutouts recorded
Rams – times shutout 4
Rams largest win – 42 to 3 (1994)
Rams largest loss – 59 to 0 (1988)
Rams most points for in a game – 46 (2012)
Rams most points against game – 59 (1988)