October 15, 2017 Langford, BC (ISN) – Two training camps, endless recruiting excursions, and 10 straight wins will see the Westshore Rebels return to the British Columbia Football Conference’s Cullen Cup Championship for the second straight year after a lopsided 57-14 win over the Langley Rams in semi-final football action under the lights at Westhills Stadium Saturday night.
The Westshore Rebels, emboldened by a number two ranking in the nation earlier, would jump out to an early 21-0 lead at the half and never look back as rookie Rebel’s Head Coach Charly Cardilicchia would make good on one more of his bold “road to the Canadian Championship” prognostications made at the beginning of the season with the dominating win over the Rams to advance.
Running back Trey Campbell and QB Scott Borden Jr. would prove to be the spark behind the Rebels fire with a cast of teammates in support for the win. Campbell, running for two of his team’s seven touchdowns, would perhaps show is best outing since his return from injury in game four of the season, running for 185 yards on 17 carries out of the back field, scoring two touchdowns in the game.
Campbell has run for over 100 yards in five of eight games he has played so far this season to literally “run” – away with the BCFC league rushing title.
QB Scott Borden Jr. was on point from the opening snap. Setting the tone in the game, Borden Jr. would throw for 161 yards on 9-19 in the first thirty minutes alone. Taking the ball from behind new centre William McBride in the absence of CJFL allstar Christian Krause, Borden Jr. engineered his team to a comfortable 35 point margin on TD’s by Trey Campbell, Nate Skeete, Kane Stevenson, and Brandon Gandire, and a QB keeper by Borden Jr. from one yard out after a huge down field toss to Birhanu Yitna to set up the TD with five minutes remaining in the third frame. Borden Jr., throwing on a rope to his receivers most of the game, would contribute 278 yards passing to the Rebels amazing 568 yards offence in the win.
The penalty bug, tough to shake, would return to the Rebels mid-third quarter, breathing a little life into a near-flat line Ram’s offence that struggled all game long to sustain any sort of offensive momentum. The Ram’s would benefit from the Rebel’s 15 second half penalties, gaining 138 yards in positive field position but would be turned away most of the second half by a resilient Westshore defensive core.
Despite revisiting their penalty woes in the third quarter, the Rebels defense would otherwise dominate both at the line and in the secondary, stymying both the run and passing play of the Rams most of the game with their explosive style of ball pursuit. The Rebel’s defense would frustrate Ram’s QB Stephan Legare with 4 sacks and three interceptions in the game to hold Langley to 253 yards net offense.
The Rams would finally hit the board with a TD reply from Ram’s QB Legare to Khalik Johnson with time running out in the third quarter.
With the game well in hand 50-7, Borden would sit the fourth quarter out, putting the ball in the capable hands of backup QB Cole Theobald who would also contribute to the lopsided win with two TD’s of his own device on a catch and run play to Nate Skeete, his second of the game, and a one yard rush by Aden Enns-Horvath.
The Rams would have the last say in the game after a late incursion deep into Rebels territory with less than two minutes remaining would result in a game ending, consolation TD, but ultimately giving the 57-14 nod to the Westshore Rebels and a ticket to the BC Championship Final for the second time in the club’s history.
“We had to do some things differently this week as an offence”, HC Cardilicchia would say about his team’s performance. “We didn’t want to go out and necessarily run the ball down their throats with the injuries we have, so we tried to get the ball out quicker and win the game with the strong right arm of Scott Borden and I believe we did so for the most part. I’m very proud of our offensive line and our receivers. I think they’re starting to gel. To start as fast as we did and still finish the way that we did, that’s as close to sixty minutes of a game we’ve played yet.”
Leading into the Cullen Cup weekend, Head Coach Cardilicchia is looking forward not only to rewrite his team’s history, but also his own. If any motivation was needed for a head coach that it would be the stinging three Cullen Cup losses as an alumni player Cardilicchia has had to endure.
When asked about his first trip to the Cullen Cup final as a head coach, Cardilicchia would comment, “ It’s a big statement for us, we’ve never hosted back to back cups so that’s very special. More so for me, as a rookie head coach and having the connection of loosing three Cullen Cups as a player, this one is a big one for me. I’m really excited to get that monkey off my back.”
The Westshore Rebels will play the winner of the other semi final game between VI Raiders (#3) and Okanagan Sun (#2) being played at this deadline.
The Cullen Cup will take place at Westhills Stadium, Saturday at 7pm, on October 21st.
* BCFC stats not released in time for this deadline