Westshore Rebels head coach Charly Cardilicchia had a simple, yet stern, message for this squad heading into tonight’s B.C. Football Conference game at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops against the lowly Broncos: “This is not a stats-padding game.”
After two emotionally and physically draining games to start the BCFC season, both of which were not decided until late in the fourth quarter, the Rebels meet a Broncos team that has been outscored 98-6 in two losses.
“It’s a trap week for us,” warned Cardilicchia.
“It will be tough to match that intensity of facing [all-time BCFC winningest coach] Matt Blokker in Langley and then playing our all-time greatest rivals in the Okanagan Sun.”
Westshore rallied in both games, edging Blokker’s Langley Rams 19-16 in the season opener on the Lower Mainland and tying the Sun 18-18 in last week’s home opener at Westhills Stadium.
“We know the Broncos will be coming after us, so we have to do what we do well,” said Cardilicchia.
The Rebels offence hasn’t been prolific, sitting third with 437 total passing yards after two games, behind Langley’s 630 yards and Fraser Valley’s 593; and also third in rushing yards with 270 behind the Sun’s 349 and Vancouver Island Raiders’ 333. But Westshore’s offence has been edgily effective in crucial moments down the stretch, making the big plays when needed. Anybody can score against low-ranked defences, but it’s better to be good when it matters, which is what Westshore’s offence has been. Still, they are just itching to open up the throttle a bit more.
Starting QB Mason Brown his hitting at a 56 per cent completion rate, but that’s against two very good defences. And Brown is the team’s leading rusher with 118 yards, just ahead of running back Khaliel James’ 114.
“We haven’t hit our full stride yet on offence,” said Cardilicchia.
Today looks to be the day for that, no matter the admonishments about not looking on the Broncos as a soft opportunity to pad stats.
The Raiders, meanwhile, host Langley today at 2:30 p.m. at Caledonia Park in Nanaimo in a battle of 1-1 teams. The Sun (1-0-1) are in Chilliwack to play the Valley Huskers (1-1).