October 21, 2023 Langford, BC (ISN) – The Westshore Rebels Football club advanced to the British Columbia Football Conference final for the second consecutive year by defeating the visiting Langley Rams 40-14 Saturday evening in semi-final playoff action at Starlight Stadium in Langford, BC.
The Rebels, yet to be defeated, will host the Cullen Cup Championship versus the defending 2022 National Champion Okanagan Sun Saturday, October 28th at home in a rematch of last year’s Cullen Cup final. Westshore earned the right to host the championship on home turf with a regular-season franchise record of 10-0, and the semi-final win versus the Rams Saturday night.
Rebels’ Canadian top offensive player, QB Te Jessie, led the way for his team putting in a solid performance passing for 240 yards on an amazing 21/26 passing. Jessie would also throw for 2 TDs to receivers Cairo Berry and CJ Vincent, and rush for a major of his own in the victory. Running back Gerren Hardisty would also figure in the final score with a rushing touchdown for his Rebels team. Defensively, linebacker Demar Hohnstein would have another fantastic night tackling the Rams offense. Hohnstein would record 6 solo tackles, four assisted tackles and sack Rams quarterback Trey Jones twice to help quell Langley’s offensive hopes.
Langley, finishing in fourth spot in the standings in the regular season, came in to the semi-final game with something to prove after a 61-7 shellacking in Langford only two weeks ago at the hand of the Rebels. For the Rebels, their week six meeting with the Rams in early September where the Rebels needed three touchdowns in the final quarter in a come from behind 28-21 win surely still served as a reminder that the Rams would come to Langford prepared for playoff football.
The game, framed in some spectator’s opinion by the officiating, would be decided, in part, if not in whole by which team could capitalize on the other’s penalties. The Rebels, no stranger to penalties, would be flagged 16 times for 160 lost yards, while the Rams would similarly be penalized 13 times for 124 negative yards.
The Rebels would take a first quarter 6-0 lead on the legs of QB Te Jessie from short yardage to break the ice as the Rebels looked to find their game rhythm, the Rams defense doing well to hold the potent Westshore offense down. The Rams would take the game lead early in the second frame on a pass from Trey Jones to receiver Broxx Comia to advance 7-6, before the Rebels’ offense would start to heat up, scoring 17 unanswered points and take a 23-7 lead with 4:16 remaining in the first half.
The Rams would take advantage of the Rebel’s penalties to chip away at the lead from short yardage in the third quarter. Rams running back Kairo Hassan would carry the rock to the house from ten yards out to cut the Rebels’ lead to 23-14. Rebels’ penalties and some strong Rams defensive line push, would keep the hosts from finding the endzone in the quarter.
With momentum in the Rams’ favour, the Rebels would show fourth quarter resilience. The Rams’s still pressing down field, QB Jones looking for the deep ball perhaps once too often, would leave a sure TD ball labeled for Broxx Comia hanging for the Rebels’ double team coverage. Westshore defensive back, Gio Linuzzi, a home-town Mount Douglas Rams, and SFU product, would intercept the Jones pass and run it to mid midfield for his offense to take over and turn momentum back in favour of the Rebels. A Langley fumble near their goal line would put the ball in Westshore running back Gerren Hardisty’s hands.
Make the best of the new-found field position, Hardisty would take the Jessie handoff and carry the ball to the house to give his team a now-comfortable lead 33-14 lead. With time running down, the CFJL’s top receiver Rebels’ Cairo Berry wouldn’t be denied at least one touchdown in the game, as QB Jessie would find him open at the post for the final touchdown reception of the game and a 40-14 victory.
Defensive back Gio Linuzzi, used in a utilitarian role, would not only record the momentum-shifting interception, but would also be a perfect 4 of 4 from field goal distance, and 4 for 4 in point conversions with his leg.