Story and Images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
July 25, 2016 Langford, BC ( ISN ) – The Westshore Rebels talked the talk, and walked the walk Sunday as they defeated a perennial playoff BCFC team in the Langley Rams 42-34 to open their 2016 season in the win column.
Rebel’s QB Ashton MacKinnon, not one to shy away from contact, is ready to stiff arm the a Langley Rams tackler. MacKinnon would run for 101 yards in the game. – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
It was touted by the BCFC as one of the top ten must-see games to watch this season, a billing that included four Westshore Rebels games, and fans were not disappointed by what they witnessed. Fans lined up down Langford Parkway to buy admission well into the first quarter. A draw not seen at Westshore Stadium for a football game since BCFC football began playing in Langford.
With the win, the Rebels shake the proverbial monkey of their back, last beating the Rams 35-28 in the 2011 season, a season that saw the Rebels enter the playoffs that year only to fall to VI Raiders 49-17 in the Semi-finals.
Both sides would go with second year QB options to start the game. The Rebels would activate QB Ashton Mackinnon to line up under centre, going head to head with Ram’s QB Stephen Legare.
Ram’s QB Stephen Legare gets squeezed out of the pocket by the Rebels defensive but finds all purpose yards despite – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
In what was a balanced attack from the Rebels on both sides of the ball, Jamel Lyles and Trey Campbell would both score two TD’s to lead their team in the win, while Kain Melchior would add another. Kicker Callum Duke, putting 12 points on the board, would kick for five converts, a field goal, and a single to round out the Rebels scoring. Ashton MacKinnon would go 11-20, for 141 yards through the air, and rush for 101 yards on the ground.
Defensively, the Rebels were equally aggressive, recording four interceptions at the expense of the Rams QB Legare and his receiving crew, and sacking him four times. Shaun Robinson and Brody Uddenberg, for the Rebels, would be a force recording game highs in tackles with six and four stops respectively.
There was no shortage of big bodies to throw around between these two teams – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Both sides would spar much of the first quarter, until the Rams, taking advantage of an errant snap, would fall on the loose ball in the Rebels end zone to take a 7-0 lead. The Rebels would answer back, after an impressive drive down field, putting the ball in the hands of Jamel Lyles who would carry the ball, diving across the goal line to even the score. That score would be the last time the Rams would lead in the game. An added field goal would put the Rebels up 10-7 after one quarter of play.
Rebel’s Jamel Lyles was exceptional in the open field recording a impressive 295 yards running with the ball – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Teams would remain quiet in the second quarter as both team’s defensive cores would earn their keep holding each other’s offense in check. Rebels Kicker Duke would score the only points in the quarter on a field goal to put his team up 13-7 at the half.
The Rams would settle for another field goal to pull closer to open the second half, but would have those gains erased when, on the ensuing kickoff, Rebels Jamel Lyles would go to work again returning the ball 98 yards through traffic for his second major of the game. That score would not only lift the hometown crowd out of their stadium seats, but seem to ignite the Westshore team as they would score two more TD’s on the legs of Trey Campbell and a catch and run by Kain Melchoir in a 21 point, third quarter Westshore Rebels burst. The Rams would keep pace adding a TD and a convert trailing 34-17 to end the third.
Rebel’s Trey Campbell hurdles the rams tackler to pickup a few of his 147 yards on the afternoon – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Rebels Ashton Mackinnon, leaving the game late in the third quarter, would give way to back up QB Scott Borden for the remainder of the game. Borden, unsuccessful through the air, would be valuable with his scrambling ability late when yardage became a scarcity under the defensive pressure of the Rams. Trey Campbell would extend the Rebels lead early in the fourth quarter with his second TD of the night to give his team a 23 point lead.
The Westshore Rebels, perhaps celebrating a 40-17 margin too early, would fall victim some undisciplined play that would give momentum back to the Rams. An experienced Rams team, knowing how to make the most out of charity yards would rattle off the next 17 points with the assistance of Rams outstanding receiver Khalik Johnson to pull within a TD for the comeback win with a 40-34 score as astonished Rebels fans, witnessed their the lead slip away. A failed Duke field goal late for the Rebels would produce only a single point with just less than two minutes remaining in the game, leaving the door open for the Rams to score a TD and an extra point for a come from behind win.
Ram’s Nick Agnoletto evades a crushing Rebel’s tackle to turn up field for extra yards – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
With only a minute left in the game, the gritty Rams QB Legare would complete back to back first downs , setting up a huge pass completion down field to Ryan MacDonald who would end up tackled on the Rebels 10 yard line with one second remaining . A final Legare attempt would go for not as the Rebels defense would rise up to the occasion to preserve the 42-34 win for the Westshore Rebels.
Post-game, despite the defensive let down late to let the Rams back in the game, Head Coach JC Boice would have nothing but praise for his team. “ Hears the reality, I initially wanted to say that was an ugly win, but we played a very good Langley team and came out of here with a win that we earned, so I’m incredibly proud of these kids. We have a lot of work to do, but one thing these kids have clearly shown is they are willing to go to work. You saw a dramatically different team ( than last year ) on the field. You saw a team that had maturity, a team that fought, a team that was in shape. Coming out 1-0 against a Langley team that is the number one in the league is huge. We’re ecstatic about the win.”
Everyone was excited to see the 2016 BCFC season kickoff at Westhills Stadium – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Looking forward to the Rebels game next weekend against the VI Raiders, Boice was clear I about his team’s fine tuning. “ We’ll go to work and build on this. We’ll clean things up. We’ve learned some valuable things.”
The Westshore Rebels will host the Vancouver Island Raiders next Saturday at Westhills Stadium. Game time 7 pm.