September 7, 2023 Langford, BC (ISN) – Westshore Rebels fans were guaranteed at least one more chance to see their local football team on home turf as the Rebels continued their magical season with a 61-7 drubbing of the British Columbia Football Conference Langley Rams at Starlight Stadium Saturday evening.
With the lopsided win, the Rebels secured top spot in the standings, and homefield advantage entering the playoffs on the road to the Cullen Cup and Canadian Bowl national championship with one game remaining in the regular season.
In what was already dubbed a preview of a postseason, semi-final matchup, the Rebels showed no signs of cooling off their hot hand this season, dominating the Rams in every aspect of Saturday’s game to quiet speculators after their Week 6 stumble against a very different looking Langley team.
The Westshore Rebels would run up a 42-0 halftime score before throttling back to give their second squad the keys to the game and close out the night with another 19 points in a 61-point final result.
Offensively, QB Te Jessie would engineer the lopsided half-time lead, throwing for 249 yards and 4 touchdowns on another efficient night of passing, completing 13/17 passes before sitting much of the second half of the game. Second squad QB Ethan Pickard, playing the last 22 minutes of the game, would be equally efficient in his passing game, completing 4/7 passes for 1 touchdown.
Receiver Cairo Berry reined havoc on the Ram defensive secondary unit, scoring three touchdowns through the air, and another on the ground in a four-touchdown performance. As of Week 9, Berry leads the league in receiving TD’s (16), punt return yards (393 yds), and punt returns for a TD (2).
In relative terms, teammate and fellow receiver Kieran Poissant would have a quiet night, adding a pair of touchdowns (13) to keep pace with Berry in the BCFC in that stats category. Poissant leads the British Columbia Football Conference with 811 yards receiving on 51 receptions, with an average 90 yards per game, all being tops in the conference. Near-equally productive on the ground as through the air, the Rebel ground crew would out rush the Rams 219-132 yards respectively. Gerren Hardisty would also figure in the scoring, finding the house for a pair of touchdowns while scampering for 94 yards on nine attempts in the winning cause.
Berry’s performance was not to overshadow his starting QB Te Jessie’s record setting night. After throwing four touchdowns in the game, Jessie would set a new Canadian Junior Football record for most touchdowns thrown in a single season (38). Jessie can add to that total with one game still remaining in the regular season against the last place VI Raiders, although it is expected that he will be used sparingly with the post-season in sight. What is more amazing is that Jessie has only played one complete game this season, that being the Rebels’ anomalous 28-21 come-from-behind win versus the Rams in their first meeting in Week 6. Jessie has effectively played an estimated total of 20 quarters so far this season. To put that into further perspective, his accomplishment was reached on an equivalent 5 games, or half a regular season.
Kicker Marcus Jones would be perfect with the boot on 8/8-point conversion attempts and 1 field goal.
Defensively, the Rebels played as near-perfect a game as to be expected. Despite being unable to bring down the Rams fleet-footed quarterback Trey Jones, who would rush for his team’s only touchdown in the game, Westshore would continue their ball-hawking, aggressive style of play. The Rebels starting defense would set the tone early, holding the Rams to a mere 69 yards net offense the entire first half.
The Rebels lead the BCFC in sacks, pulling down their opponent’s quarterback 31 times this season. Westshore’s secondary was especially active Saturday. Both, defensive back Bronson Pheiffer and line backer Bryce Reuther would read QB Trey Jones pass downfield, recording a pair of interceptions.
Demar Hohnstein, a defensive standout for the Rebels all season, would continue to make his presence felt with seven solo tackles and four assisted tackles. Hohnstein leads the BCFC with 48 solo tackles so far this season. Feranmi Okunlola’s play would also be noted with three solo tackles, four assisted tackles, and one of three Rebels knocked down Jones passes.
The Rebels, having the dubious honor of the second most penalty yards committed in the conference this season only committed eight penalties the entire game, holding the line to force four Rams turnovers on downs.
With the win, the Rebels improve to 9-0 with a chance to run the table with a perfect 10-0 regular season when they travel October 14th to Nanaimo for their final game of the season against the 0-9 Raiders. A perfect season would be the first in the current Rebels franchise history.
The Rebels will host the Rams again in another two weeks in a Cullen Cup semi-final matchup at home on October 21st. A Cullen Cup Championship victory would see the Canadian Bowl national championship return to Langford after a seven-year hiatus, last played at the then Westhills Stadium in 2016.