As rain poured down, chaos reigned following the Langley Rams B.C. Football Conference semifinal victory over the Westshore Rebels Saturday at McLeod Stadium.
The Rams romped to a 33-0 shutout of the Rebels from Victoria. [For the game report, see story on page A19.]
With the score out of reach late in the fourth quarter, the contest took an ugly turn, with players hitting one another after the whistle, lots of rough play, and plenty of ill will.
One player from each side was disqualified for unnecessary roughness during the final stanza.
Rams’ head coach Jeff Alamolhoda felt that the Rebels were taking liberties on his players, especially in the waning moments.
Alamolhoda accused head coach John Cardilicchia and the Rebels of threatening the Rams’ players.
Cardilicchia says he takes “serious offence” to Alamolhoda’s accusations, especially the allegation that he threatened Rams’ starting quarterback Greg Bowcott.
“On my grandmother, I never said that,” Cardilicchia said. “That makes my blood boil. It is untrue. It’s all fabricated garbage. What I told [Bowcott] was ‘buckle up your chin strap, because we’re coming.’ I did not threaten Greg Bowcott or anybody else. It’s not my style.”
Cardilicchia said he was upset that the Rams had kept their starting quarterback in the game and continued to throw the ball with the score heavily in Langley’s favour and time ticking down.
Alamolhoda opted not to shake hands with Cardilicchia at the end of the game.
As well, Alamolhoda said he kept his players on the sidelines for what he believed was their own well-being.
“If I sent the guys into the middle of the field to shake hands, a brawl would have broken out,” Alamolhoda said.
“At that stage I chose not to have the guys shake hands, based on the safety of our players. I wanted to keep them safe and send them to the locker room,” he said.
This decision lit a fire under Cardilicchia who, with his full complement of players behind him, charged up to his counterpart.
“In 22 years of coaching, I’ve never walked away from a handshake,” Cardilicchia said.
The two head coaches began yelling at each other and a few of the players from both sides got involved.
Pushing and shoving spilled onto the McLeod Athletic Park oval track. Playing the role of peacemakers, members of both the Rams and Rebels got in between the combatants.
Rebels’ defensive lineman Justin Perrie pitched an agility pad, shotput style, into the fray and it hit the back of one of the Rams’ coaching staff.
Cardilicchia said once he realized potential fisticuffs were about to erupt, he did his best to keep his own players at bay.
“I feel horrible about this,” he said. “I still do.”
“There was lots of frustration on the field,” said Township parks and recreation director David Leavers, who attended the game.
Leavers said that after the game, there was some damage to the Rebels’ dressing room. Damage to toilet partitions is estimated at about $1,000.
“We haven’t brought the RCMP into it,” Leavers said.
But Leavers confirmed that RCMP officers were there for the scuffle that followed the game.
The Langley RCMP received several calls about the fracas, apparently from people in the stands, said Const. Craig Van Herk.
However, by the time officers arrived, everything had calmed down. Police stayed until the visiting team had departed to keep the peace, Van Herk said, but no one was arrested.
Rebels’ president Roger Wade had no comment.
“The incident is under investigation by our league, when the league announces its findings the Rebels will have an official announcement,” Wade said in an email to the Langley Advance.