October 22, 2017 Langford, BC (ISN) – The Westshore Rebels postseason football drive came to an unceremonious end Saturday night as the Vi Raiders of Nanaimo prove the driving force in a 21-7 BCFC Championship Cullen Cup upset loss.
For the Raiders, the win is their eighth provincial title in team history, including six straight between 2006-2011.
The Rebels, under first year BCFC Coach of the Year Charly Cardilicchia, looked to protect a 10-1 record against the third place Raiders with hopes of taking the Cup as back to back champions, but a victory was not in the cards for the home side as mounting injuries, seven turnovers, and dominating Raider special teams and defensive play would shut down the Rebel’s high flying aspirations as national champions.
For the Rebels, the defeat would be a hard pill to swallow after a stellar season. “It’s a very disappointing finish,” said head coach Cardilicchia. “We couldn’t get the ball to bounce our way, couldn’t get our run game untracked. The defence played great, well enough to win.”
Offensively, both sides would not only have to battle each other, but also one of the worst fall storms to hit the south island so far this year as pounding, torrential rains would near-nullify any chance for a packed Westhills Stadium to witness a prolific passing game. Quarterbacks on both sides of the ball would pass for a dismal cumulative first half total 5-22 attempts as a slick ball would make for a very sloppy game.
QB Scott Borden, throwing only four picks in 245 tries all season, would uncharacteristically throw two interceptions in the game final, both into the waiting hands of Raider’s DB Shawn Arabsky to turn momentum back the visitors way.
The Raiders would jump out to a 14-0 lead in by the second quarter and never look back. Under QB Jake Laberge, the Raiders would get scoring on a 19-yard TD pass to Trevor Pelland in the first quarter of play, adding to their lead five minutes into the second frame on a TD by Brycen Mayoh.
The Rebels, fighting back, would answer with their own TD on a kick return that saw the explosive legs of Kaine Stevenson run the ball 67 yards, beating the Raiders coverage to make a game out of it 14-7. The Raiders would add rouge and a field goal to go up 18-7 at the half.
A stronger defensive effort from the Rebels in the second half would all but hold the Raiders off the board but would never be able to find their offensive mojo, much in part to fabulous downfield special teams coverage that would hem in Rebels kick returners most of the game, forcing Scott Borden’s offence to work a long field.
A late Raider’s field goal after a Rebels fumble would give the VI Raider’s a 21-7 victory and the 2017 Cullen Cup Championship.