Week 7 saw two very entertaining games, and one that was “interesting” if nothing else. The 4 playoffs teams have been solidified, as the Huskers and Broncos were both officially eliminated from the play-offs, although both gave efforts (under different situations) that bode well for the remaining three games.
Here are the Musings for Week 7:
Both the Huskers and Broncos saw their slim play-off chances fade away, the Broncos no doubt were a hurting group heading up the Coquihalla Highway after a very exciting 27-21 loss to the Langley Rams. It is hard to justify that a turning point could take place in the 1st quarter, but the Broncos had a chance to go up 14-0 (or 10-0 with a field goal), before turning the ball over inside the Rams 5-yard line. On their ensuing possession, the Rams tied the score at 7, and one can only guess what effect that momentum shift had. Over 900 yards of offense between the two clubs, as the Rams faithful got their money’s worth. The Broncos were disappointed yes, but should feel proud of their effort.
In Chilliwack, the Huskers were down 32-0 before paying customers were in their seats so it could be argued the Sun called off the dogs, and maybe they did to a degree as back-ups were rotated early and often for the visitors. Still, that game could have, and really should have seen the Sun put up 60 points based on the start, so full marks to the Huskers for a really solid second half, and the Sun for emptying their bench as well.
There were sadly few Husker fans in attendance to see the game, as the visiting Sun fans seemed to outnumber the home side. It’s typical at any level of paid spectator sport that a losing team loses some fans, and the Huskers have been losing and losing and losing the past three seasons on the field. Still, it’s an affordable, family entertainment that needs and deserves community support to survive. I would argue that the community of Chilliwack needs the Huskers. As someone who watches closely the local media for each team, it’s sad to see the lack of coverage the Chilliwack media gives the Huskers and its players that are from the area or who have made the commitment to travel half way across the country.
Virtually no pre-game coverage to let the casual fan know there is an upcoming game, and yet local players suiting up for other junior or university teams are featured in the paper, but Husker players themselves are over looked. It didn’t used to be like that in Chilliwack, whether winning or losing, the football team always had strong media coverage.
Coach Reist will be working this off season to get his returning players back, and he has proven to be good at recruiting athletes to his field, hopefully he has the same talent when it comes to getting the media there next season.
The Westshore Rebels and Okanagan Sun are now firmly entrenched in a first place battle over the last three games, and for each club the goal of first spot might be as much about avoiding the VI Raiders in the semi-final as the home field advantage it offers throughout the playoffs. The Raiders have played both clubs extremely tough the last couple weeks, so whoever meets them will have their hands full in the semi-final game. The Raiders have an easier finish to the season, with games against the Huskers and Broncos before wrapping up against the Rams at Caledonia. The Rams take on the Rebels and Sun before tangling with the Raiders, so assuming the Raiders will be the third seed is a relatively safe bet. Not to discount the Langley Rams, but it’s hard to argue the Raiders aren’t a bigger threat for an upset in round one. First place in the regular season means home field through the play-offs, paying fans at the gate, and no visiting VI Raiders in the semi finals.
That said, the Rams can still control their own destiny in terms of where they finish, so am I overlooking them too soon?
The CJFL releases a top 10 every week, it’s really just an interest piece for the media, as unlike college football south of the border, play-off seeds are not determined by rankings. Teams from all conferences are included in order to “spread the wealth.” Below are last week’s CJFL Top 10, versus how I think the teams shake down along with some explanation for my order.
CJFL Top 10
- Edmonton Huskies 4-0 (PFC)
- Okanagan Sun 5-0-1 (BCFC)
- Saskatoon Hilltops 3-1 (PFC)
- Regina Thunder 3-1 (PFC)
- Westshore Rebels 5-1 (BCFC)
- Windsor AKO Fratmen 4-1 (OFC)
- Winnipeg Rifles 3-1 (PFC)
- Hamilton Hurricane 3-1 (OFC)
- VI Raiders 3-2-1 (BCFC)
- London Beefeaters 3-1 (OFC)
Musings Top 10
- Saskatoon Hilltops (only loss to Regina Thunder but beat that club as well)
- Regina Thunder (see above)
- Okanagan Sun
- Westshore Rebels
- Edmonton Huskies (as of today its 5-0 record consists of 2 wins each over the Calgary Colts and Edmonton Wildcats who are a combined 1-9 and Windsor in an interlocking. The OFC is 0-4 and outscored 191-29 versus the PFC this year so not sure if any of the Huskies games this year show what they are made of. They take on the Thunder this weekend, so we will have a better idea soon enough.
- Winnipeg Rifles (They gave a strong Thunder team a game this weekend before falling 29-24
- VI Raiders
- Windsor AKO (The Fratmen beat the Ottawa Sooners 40-23 while the Winnipeg Rifles hammered the same club 51-0. On those results alone I can’t put them ahead of the Rifles)
- Calgary Colts (The PFC is generally going to have more teams in the top 10 if I’m doing the list)
- Langley Rams
*Removed from the top 10
- Hamilton Hurricane (lost 61-7 to Regina at home)
- London Beefeaters (4 wins are over the weak sisters of the OFC Niagra and GTA. Blown out 60-7 by Windsor)
The Best rivalry in the BCFC is starting to become a bit toxic as the Raiders and Rebels entertained fans with another thriller this weekend. What fans in stadium were too far away to have been able to clearly see, but was very visible for people watching BCFCTV.com was a sideline skirmish that took place on the Rebels bench just before halftime. Some pushing and shoving following a punt return escalated to a Rebels player and a downed Raiders player, that resulted in a Rebels player being ejected from the game. The Rebels player, receiver Birhanu Yitna proceeded to wave to a cheering crowd as he was escorted to the Rebels dressing room by officials. I’m going to give Yitna the benefit of the doubt and assume that in retrospect he doesn’t really find the incident something to laugh about, but rather was caught up in the emotion of the game. He may be facing a lengthy suspension for something that seemed to go beyond a typical roughing penalty.
I’m also not suggesting Rebel coaches encourage this type of play, they didn’t, as you could clearly see visibly concerned Rebel coaches attempting to diffuse the situation before it started. Still, the animosity that both organizations have for each other may well be responsible at least in part for what has become an unhealthy rivalry and how the players on both sides react to one another as players, will feed off what is said about the team on the other side of the field by their coaches. This is too bad, because the football played between these teams the last couple years has been fun to watch.
This situation was born 12 years ago, when the Rebels relocated to Nanaimo, forcing people loyal to Victoria football, to admirably pick up the pieces and save a franchise. But reading quotes about the move as recently as this week, has me thinking it’s time to move on. The Rebels on field product clearly has, as it demonstrated last year by capturing the Cullen Cup. As for the people involved 12 years ago who moved the franchise to Nanaimo? They are no longer involved with the organization. The “they stole our team” is getting old.
This weekend’s issue was far from the first between these teams as it seems every time they match up there is a problem, and before the Rebels think I am blaming them for all that ails us I will also suggest that the Raiders being unwilling to give the Rebels any benefit of the doubt plays a part as well. Last year in the play-off game was the coffee incident where a Rebels fan threw the beverage in the face of the Raiders quarterback Jacob Laberge. The Raiders felt this was a by-product of the of the team bench locations being switched for the game, meaning the Raiders were next to the grandstand while the Rebels were on the far side of the field. Orchestrated yes, but by the Rebels coaches so they could avoid overly exuberant Raider fans, not so their fans could involve themselves with the Raiders bench. The Raiders however, wouldn’t accept the explanation and the Westshore Rebels were painted in a bad light in the media over what really was an unfortunate situation, the Rebels didn’t like any more than the Raiders did. Would the Raiders would have accepted the explanation from another BCFC club had the situation taken place in a different stadium? I think they likely would have. No one likes to see those types of things happen, including rivals.
I’ve gotten to know both the VI Raiders and Westshore Rebels groups the past couple years, and can honestly say I like the people and the personalities on both sides. Dare I say if they were on the same team they would feel the same way?
Time for this rivalry to re-evaluate itself. I know I’m going to stop calling it the best in the BCFC for now.
Road bet of the week
The Rebels are in Langley to tackle the Rams while the Sun are in Kamloops to try to remain unbeaten against the Broncos as our options as the Huskers in Nanaimo aren’t going to beat the Raiders. Do the Rams have a shot? They might and need to take it this weekend. I can’t see the Sun losing in Kamloops so they are the best bet this weekend