December 6, 2016 Langley, BC (ISN) – Missed Chilliwack conversion attempts and a Renegade never say “quit” attitude would play partners in Giant killing as the Victoria Renegades junior bantam football team put their stamp on BC minor football last weekend, keeping their 2016 season’s remarkable, undefeated streak in tact with a 24-20 win over the Chilliwack Giants Blue on their way to the BC Provincial Football title held at MacLeod Stadium in Langley Sunday afternoon.
Vancouver, long felt to be the hotbed of BC Minor football, got to see island football at its finest as the Renegades proved, through no minor adversity, that football on Vancouver Island has something to offer the to the rest of the province.
After last weekend’s semi-final 18-10 OT win over the Coquitlam Vikings, the red and white were able to look back for the first time this season and learn what is was like to play from behind under said adversity, an experience that was never presented to them all season in the VICFA, running away with a 387-58 points for / against gap in the regular season against island opponents.
The Chilliwack Giants Blue, no slouches to the contest either, came into Langley riding a similar horse. The Giants would out score their opponents by a 202 point margin on their way to a perfect 8-0 season record to earn their ticket to the “..ship”.
Renegades starting QB Caeden Reiter would go head to head against Giants Grayson Frick for command of the field. Both teams lines would battle hard defensively over the first quarter of play. Renegade’s Khang Chau and Cole Bunting would dominate the first half of play off the D-Line, neutralizing the Grayson Frick offense when opportunity arose, despite the impressive running abilities of Giant’s Logan Buchwitz.
The Giants defense would answer the bell first, when after Reiter, driving his team down field to threaten, would force an errant ball over the middle and into the hands of Giant’s Gavin Thomas, running the ball 96 yards the length of the field on a pic six for the first TD of the game, going up 6-0 to set the Renegades back.
Reiter, perhaps being the best student of adversity, wouldn’t let that phase him, bouncing back with an unofficial, 300 yard passing performance and 2 td’s to lead his team in the winner take all game.
Jackson Reid, the recipient of a short Reiter out late in the first quarter, would beat all defenders, running it fifty yards to the house to put his team even. A successful conversion would put the island team in front 8-6 to end the first quarter of play.
Reiter would continue to direct his offensive line down field, seemingly taking first downs at would to back up the Giants. Perhaps going to the well one too often, Reiter would be tagged with his 2nd pic in the game by Giants Michael Hopwood to turn over the ball. Relying on the tenacious running back Logan Buchwitz, the Giants would find some real estate to work with to move the ball, but would be unable to get close to the end zone.
The Renegade’s Jackson Reid would right the ship, stopping the Giants offense, first on a knocked down pass, and then a QB sack on Frick to turn over the ball on downs. Putting the ball back in the hands of Reiter with 3:25 remaining, the Renegade QB, still not shy to throw the ball, would throw to Linden Williams twenty yards downfield. Williams would run another twenty yards, beating two Giants defenders to the end zone, putting his team up 16-6.
The Giants QB Frick, not to be denied an answer as time runs out in the half, would take his team the length of the field with two minutes remaining, putting his team on the Renegade’s twelve yard line, in position to score. Frick, TD denied on a Giants penalty, would then loose the ball to a Linden Williams interception to finish the half with the Victoria Renegades holding a 10-point lead.
The Giants would come out to start the second half looking into a bag of tricks to get back on track. Giant’s Kaleb Spaner would take the ball reversal and run it sixty yards for the opening TD of the second half to pull to within a pair 16-14. Giant’s would lean heavily on running back Logan Buchwitz, who nearly unstoppable would test the Renegade’s tackling abilities, giving his Giants much needed field position. Equal to the task, the Renegades would find the determination and team effort to force the ball back into their possession unscathed.
With Reiter on the sidelines, the eventual MVP rookie Linden Williams would take the snap to open the fourth quarter at the 11:47 mark. Keeping the ball himself, Williams would run twenty yards for the TD to go up 24-14, creating some distance on the scoreboard in what became eleven minutes of anxious anticipation on both sides of the field, players and fans alike.
Still satisfied with Buchwitz’s success on the ground, the Giants would continue to pound the ball up field. With three minutes remaining the Giants would start to threaten from the Renegades forty-yard line. Frick would find Buchwitz in the backfield from the three-yard line to score with 1:24 remaining to pull close 24-20.
The Renegades would go three and out on the next series, forced to give the ball up with 24 second remaining, giving the Gaints on last shot to pull out a win. A dropped ball by Buchwitz, and a downfield pass to Buchwitz that would be intercepted by Hunter Bowles would give the Victoria Renegades the Provincial Championship.
ISN’s Erich Eichhorn had a chance to catch up with head coach Charly Cardillicchia post game in Langley to discuss his team’s win. Never a doubt in his mind from mid-season on, Cardillicchia explained what drove his team to the championship victory. “ We never let doubt creep into the back of our mind. After that pic six in the beginning of the game, we could have been down. We’ve never been behind all season. Our QB was a little rattled after that pic six but he answered the bell. When push came to shove, the growth of our players and this victory was amazing to see.”
When asked about where this victory might take him next, l would could only answer, “ I’m going to enjoy this one first. This has been the most intense year of coaching in my life. The Zone Bowl, the Wolverines ( Spring minor league ), the Westshore Rebels, the Renegades. I think it’s time for a vacation and recharge the batteries.”
Let’s hope for benefit Vancouver Island Football players that those batteries are of the longer life variety. Energizing football youth for years to come.