August 10th, 2019 Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Vancouver Island Raiders dominated most of a spirited game versus the Westshore Rebels Saturday night at Westhills Stadium, but it would be another Rebels final quarter comeback, their second in as many weeks, that would lift the home team to victory with a 39-30 win, and a 2-0 record to start the 2019 BCFC season.
On early week media scouting, it would be the Raiders that were the heavily-voted BCFC poll favorite (5-2) to win the contest. With an early season injury to starting Rebels QB Colby Henkel, the acquisition and preparedness of Rebels five-day veteran Shawn Lal would cast a shadow over Westshore’s chances against Raider’s veteran ball slinger Jacob Laberge.
For Westshore’s Lal, being thrown into the fire after only four practices under the Rebels offensive system, it was obvious that the gravity of the game didn’t faze the Langley Ram alumni. Head to head, Lal would get the best of QB Laberge, throwing for 326 yards on 11/30 pass completion and two TD’s, one a lead-changing, 93-yard bomb to Ojong. Ojong would score two of Westshore’s three fourth quarter touchdowns, receiving for a game high 237 yards from QB Shawn Lal to mount the comeback win. Laberge, despite being surgical early with his play calling, would leave the game to start the fourth quarter, throwing for a mere 156 yards on 5/20 attempts.
The only scoring in a defensive first quarter would be a Rebels’ convert and a single point, posting a 3-0 Westshore lead on the foot of kicker Kyle Clarke.
Things would heat up for the Raiders in the second quarter as Laberge would orchestrate three strikes in the second quarter, scoring by Mike West, Jared Braun, and his own QB keeper for the major, to jump out to a comfortable 23-10 first half lead, with the help of the Rebel’s 174 yards in penalties. Rebel’s Defensive Back Maleek Womack would step in front of one of Laberge’s passes mid- second quarter, scoring a pick six from 32 yards out to bring his home team within a single point, with his team’s only reply in the first half of play to ignite the Rebel faithful.
Despite a stronger defensive showing in the third quarter by the Raiders, Rebels defense would equal the task, holding LaBerge’s offensive team to a mere 155 net yards offensively in the second half. Rebel’s QB Lal, starting to find some offensive momentum, would double that output with 316 yards much with the help of receiver Ojong’s four receptions for 237-yard performance.
The Rebels, held back by a resilient defensive Raider line led by Zach Taylor in the third quarter, would use a little trickery on a punt situation when Byron Mackinnon would take the ball off the snap to catch the Raider’s by surprise, running the ball 32 yards for the TD trailing 23-17. A Rebel’s quarterback sack in the Raider end zone would add to the Rebels’ efforts, inching closer 23-19.
The Raider’s would answer last in the third quarter, when with 12.9 seconds remaining LaBerge would score his second TD of the game to reassert their hold on the lead with a 30-19 lead.
The final quarter, not dissimilar to the Rebels performance last weekend vs the Huskers, would own the quarter, scoring three touchdowns to secure the 39-30 win.
Rebels’ QB Shawn Lal would find favour teammate Jeffroy Ojong twice in the quarter, seven minutes apart to take the lead 33-30 with 7:42 remaining.
The Raiders would reply, able to move the ball into the Rebel’s end with ease. Trying to perhaps set up for a field goal attempt with only three minutes remaining, Raider’s backup QB Cole McGarvey, inserted for Laberge early in the fourth quarter due to a potential injury, would look down field once too often as Rebel newcomer Demerius Henderson would knock down the intended pass and into his own hands to run the ball seventy-three yards for the TD, ending the VI Raider’s own attempt at a comeback win.
The undefeated Rebels next travel to the Apple Bowl to take on the also undefeated Okanagan Sun Saturday August 17th, while the 0-2 VI Raiders battle the visiting 0-2 Kamloops Broncos at Caledonia Field.