We are down to 4 teams in the battle for the Cullen Cup after weekend 9. Musings for the final time before the play-offs kick-off.
One of the biggest stories in the BCFC this season has unquestionably been the on-field collapse of the Westshore Rebels, or is it the on-field surge of the Valley Huskers? On second thought it is the Huskers but still, what happened in Westshore is pretty head scratching stuff. The minute the early season coaching change took place I think most of us looking in from the outside assume Rebels 2.0 would be born, a more disciplined version. In many of our minds the biggest issue with Charly Cardilicchia is a flamboyant head coaching style such as his isn’t conducive to keeping junior football players focused and in checked.
I'm not always a fan of Shane Beatty’s military style, sometimes over the top coaching that he was taught in the USA as some players completely buy into it, but others can be shut down completely by it. I know when we were both in the Okanagan I saw/know many players will state in no uncertain terms that Beatty is the best coach they ever had. Others would say it can be over the top. I looked at it this way, in the real world later in life, you don’t always have bosses you like. Sports teaches you how to work in a group, if its making you the best you.
In any event, based on the way the rest of the season went for the Rebels one might assume enough players were in the latter category, things just didn’t mesh with many of them. That’s an assumption on my part, nothing more, but one that seems to make sense based on the results the latter part of the season.
It will be very interesting to see what transpires in the off season in Westshore. Is Beatty back with his wing man JC Boice along-side? Potentially as co-head coaches? If Beatty is in charge and able to bring in his type of personality and player things could be drastically different next season.
Saturday night the Rebels have one last chance to make some noise as they are in Kelowna, and you know Beatty would love nothing more than to beat his former club in its own park. A team with nothing to lose playing a team with everything to lose as the Sun would likely drop to 2nd or even 3rd spot depending on how the afternoon games go. This will make for a very interesting game as the Sun offense that looked "back" two weeks ago against the Raiders, stalled Sunday against the Broncos.
No official word on if Sun defensive lineman Nicholas Dheilly is back in the lineup after spending the last 4 weeks on the shelf. The Sun defensive line is already going to prove too much to handle for a Rebels offensive line that gives up 5 sacks a game. If Dheilly is in, it will be a long night for the visitors.
If not, do we see one more BCFC 2018 hi-lite game?
Usual discussion following the defensive all-star announcement yesterday, and it will no doubt continue when the offense comes out at noon and other names are not there that some people feel should be. If you think someone was left off who should be there you are probably right, but then to put your choice in, who gets removed?
A couple names that are floating around that should have been listed yesterday are Raishaun Provo and Cody Holmes of the Rebels. Something to be said for both names as Provo is right at the top of the BCFC defensive statistics. The Rebels will argue that Holmes is their best all- around player, but hard to argue with the 4 names that will be listed at the receiver position today.
I think the conference has it’s voting system right though, one that sees coaches make the nominations then a panel of 6 head coaches, 4 BCFC board members and 6 media members vote on the all-stars with the coaches counting as 1.5 votes per player versus one for the other members of the committee 1. In the past, where just head coaches voted, we had situations where coaches would make deals by voting for a particular player if a coach voted for theirs, and in some cases we could see where coaches didn’t vote for an obvious choice from another team just to make it more likely his player would be selected.
Nothing's perfect, and certainly this system isn’t either, but its as close as it gets I think.
Von Richardson will be a BCFC all-star next year for the Huskers.
Chilliwack Progress reporter Eric Welsh called me yesterday to see if the Huskers established a team scoring record this year, they didn’t as 3 times in the early 2000’s they scored more. Still those teams in my mind weren’t as good as the 2018 version. In 2001 the Huskers were actually in the Cullen Cup game against the Okanagan Sun, the only time they have reached the championship game. But that year there was a coastal and interior division that saw a crossover play-off system that at the time I felt was a bit weird. The Huskers actually had a 7-3 record that year but largely a result of feasting on weaker teams, and though they led the Sun at halftime, you knew it was just a matter of time before the Sun woke and trounced the Huskers in the second half, which they did.
This year’s version of the Huskers is way better, and way more dangerous than better Huskers teams of the past.
In a pre-season prediction piece, I had the VI Raiders finishing in 3rd spot. I couldn’t understand at the time, and still don’t why they take offense, and for the most part cut off media communication with me over a story that was geared to create interest in the media, which we should do be doing to promote the conference.
I’m not going to say I told you so, but 3rd place is now the best the Raiders can hope for. Still, that team is just as likely to run the table from 4th spot as they did from 3rd last year to emerge Cullen Cup champions, that wouldn't surprise anyone, including myself.
The city of Kelowna won, and the city of Kamloops lost last week as next year’s Memorial Cup was awarded to Kelowna over their neighbours to the north. I wonder if the Broncos won’t be the winners and the Sun the losers though as sponsorship money gets pulled to that tournament and away from the local football team.
Langley Rams average rushing yards per game through the first five games was 61, the last four games they are chugging along at 166 per and their passing game hasn’t dropped off a bit. To throw another stat at you, they have cut rushing yards against in half the last 4 games as well.
If statistics mean anything, and I’d argue rushing stats mean everything this time of the year, then the Langley Rams are far and away the team to beat the rest of the way in this conference, regardless of if they finish first or second place.
We know the Rams are going to finish first or second after this season as they will beat the Broncos, no chance of them looking past them after the effort Kamloops put up against the Sun last weekend. By the time the Sun kick off against the Rebels they will know they must win to maintain first place.
What is really interesting though, if the Valley Huskers also knock off the Raiders in Nanaimo earlier in the day the Sun will be in a position of needing at least a tie to avoid falling all the way to 3rd place.
Just a commercial to make sure you tune in to BCFCTV Saturday night.
We get a lot of emails asking why the CJFL statistics are behind the ones we have at bcfootballconference.com. While the national league does a terrific job of promotion they are stretched a bit thin as neither the OFC or PFC have their own sites like our conference does so the job of compiling and promoting three conferences gets a bit overwhelming.
I’m not sure why they don’t just mirror our stats like the Okanagan Sun do now though, a system where the stats page is pulled automatically over as we update.
In any event, as good as the national site is, the most in depth and current BCFC coverage can be found at bcfootballconference.com.
Musings are for opinion purposes only and do not represent the views of the BCFC or its teams
Blake Roberts is a long time BCFC volunteer with the Okanagan Sun from 1992 through 2013. In 2016 he joined the BCFC at the conference level to work on developing and growing the brand of the British Columbia Football Conference.
The opinions he expresses are not necessarily those of the BCFC or its teams.