It’s an MO Westshore Rebels head coach Charly Cardilicchia admits the team is becoming known for.
Losing in the first half of a football game, only to charge forward in the fourth quarter with a come-from behind, last-minute victory. It’s how the team played in the first game of the season with a slim 19-16 win over the Langley Rams, and Saturday’s 18-18 tie against the Okanagan Sun was no different.
“It really helps early in the season to have those types of gritty games. They really do help develop the camaraderie in the locker room and they give you that confidence,” Cardilicchia said.
Saturday’s game was also the Rebels’ home opener. The rain didn’t deter fans from coming out and cheering on the local club at Westhills Stadium.
The Sun opened the scoring with a field goal at 8:22 into the game, followed by a touchdown by Jacob Loucks with 5:06 left to give them a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Wide receiver Cody Holmes got the Rebels on the board with a field goal to close out the first.
Heading into the second half, the Sun continued to dominate 14-3 when Holmes scored a touchdown, cutting the lead to 15-10.
But it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Rebels found their stride and exploded. With just 9:19 left in the fourth quarter and the Sun leading 17-12, the Rebels stripped the ball and defensive lineman Lawhya Lako went in for the touchdown.
In the end, the Rebels tied the Okanagan Sun 18-18, bringing the record to 1-0-1 over the weekend.
“It was more just about the belief in one another than it was a particular play,” said Cardilicchia of the team’s ability to come back. “Our defence kept them on their heels. We knocked their starting quarterback out of the game in the first half. Huge kudos to our defensive line – Leonardo Ingram, Jahmensky Lubin, Lawhya Lako and Byron Mackinnon. They all played amazing.”
Up next, the team will hit the road to take on the Kamloops Broncos in week three of British Columbia Football Conference action. The Broncos have had a tough start to the season, dropping their first game 56-6 to the Okanagan Sun and their second game 42-0 against the Vancouver Island Raiders over the weekend.
While it looks to be a favourable match-up for the Rebels, Cardilicchia said the team isn’t taking that for granted and will continue to work on finding a rhythm with its offensive line.
“We’re doing just enough right now and we really need to start pushing the envelope and setting the bar higher for ourselves. Our O-line needs to step up and play better,” Cardilicchia said.
Cardilicchia is also hoping to shake things up with some new recruits, but is having trouble finding places for the players to stay. There are roughly seven to nine players that currently need billet homes if they’re to join the squad this season. Cardilicchia hopes families in the West Shore or throughout Greater Victoria will consider opening their homes.
For more information about billets, visit westshorerebels.ca.
The Rebels take on the Broncos at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops on Saturday, Aug. 18. Kick off is at 6 p.m.