It’s just about fall, which would be a really horrible thing if not for football…
At some point during the Huskers win over the Westshore Rebels at Exhibition Stadium on the weekend I wonder if newly minted Rebels offensive coordinator JC Boice didn’t look across the sideline at the Huskers with admiration at the work done by our conference coach of the year in waiting Bob Reist. No one knows better than Boice how incredible the turnaround is in Chilliwack as he himself was named BCFC and CJFL coach of the year in 2016 after turning the club from 2-8 and 5th place in 2015 to 8-1-1, first place and a berth in the Canadian Bowl in 2016. While the appearance in the national championship may or may not have played a role in Boice garnering national honours and Reist is still a way away from reaching that stage this year, one has to wonder if the job Reist has done isn’t already more impressive than Boice’s 2016 feat.
With all respect to JC Boice, he did have a very valuable wing man to run the defence, but more importantly steer the ship in the recruiting department in Shane Beatty who had been the head coach of the Okanagan Sun the past 3 seasons and the CJFL coach of the year two years running. Beatty had a track record in the junior recruiting world and no doubt carried a great deal of cache in convincing players looking for a junior football team that he could help create a winner after the job he had done in Kelowna with the Sun.
In the case of Bob Reist, there was no junior football coaching experience and the issue of a team with, well let’s just say a less than stellar track record of success. You can just imagine Reist’s conversation with Julian Wytinck about playing in the BCFC once he realized what team he would be quarterbacking. “Uh coach, I just did some research, did you say the Huskers?, the Valley Huskers? Are you serious coach? I wasn’t born the last time the Huskers were good.”
While all CJFL teams have their own challenges, I don’t think those in the PFC can really appreciate just how bare the football landscape has become in BC. In Chilliwack with just two high school and one midget team in the city and another three in Abbotsford (essentially right in the backyard of the Langley Rams as well) it’s a steep uphill climb trying to field a team at all, never mind a successful one. The job Reist and the Huskers organization have done is amazing, completely rebuilding the team with only one player remaining from 2016 before he arrived. The Huskers have become “Winnipeg West” with 26 players from Manitoba on the roster, convincing that much talent to take a leap of faith was no small feat. The BCFC is better for it as he and his club are the key to what has been a pretty fun 2018 season.
Regardless what happens the rest of the season, and regardless who is named CJFL coach of the year in November, he’s in Chilliwack. Period.
Interesting to look at how the VI Raiders took it on the chin from the Okanagan Sun with two big losses in three weeks, the thumping at home on the weekend after being up 10-0 early potentially especially troubling for head coach Doug Hocking. Still, with 17 turnovers in those games he might be thinking the losses come down to one area and one area only that is pretty fixable.
Conversely, the Sun took down the first-place club twice playing opportunistic football, one of them a big win on the road, down 10-0 with the back-up quarterback.
This is where the psychology of coaching comes in, with Ben Macauley wanting to make sure his troops don’t feel too good about themselves so there is no stumbling the rest of the way. Conversely, Doug Hocking letting his know that at the end of the day those losses might have had as much to do about what the Raiders did to themselves as anything else.
I’m really hoping these two teams meet in the play-offs.
It’s never a good thing when a junior football team is outscored 61-0, but is it worse when a junior team forfeits a game? What if they forfeit down 61-0 at halftime? That’s what happened when the Niagra Raiders walked away at the half in a loss to the first place Hamilton Hurricanes last week. The Raiders actually aren’t the worst team in the OFC as they play the winless GTA Grizzlies to wrap up the regular season this weekend.
Sad to hear of the death of former Langley (Surrey Rams) running back Dino Camparmo after a short battle with cancer. Dino was the best running back in the BCFC in the early 90’s for the Rams and leaves us way too soon. Rest in peace Dino.
The play-off picture will get a whole lot clearer this weekend if the Huskers beat the Rebels on the road to punch their ticket to the post season and send the Westshore straight to thinking about what could have been. As much as I have enjoyed watching the success of the Huskers this year and personally want to see them rewarded with a trip to the play-offs, I’m torn as it would be nice to see the drama of this season extended another week.
A Westshore win over the Huskers this weekend would mean that next Saturday night the Rebels are up in Kelowna with a chance to upset the Sun and get in the play-offs themselves if the Huskers lose in Nanaimo to the Raiders earlier in the day.
The way 2018 has gone one has to expect the Rebels win this weekend to set that up. Or they could lose to the Huskers and beat the Sun in a game that means nothing to the Rebels but knocks the Sun from 1st to 3rd and the Huskers into 2nd spot and a home play-off date if they beat the Raiders on the final day.