For a little while at least, it looked as though the Westshore Rebels were going to give the Langley Rams a battle Saturday at McLeod Stadium.
By halftime, however, the Rams proved whey they are the top dog in the B.C. Football Conference, pulling out to a 25-10 lead en route to a 49-17 victory.
The win improved the junior Rams' record to a league best 5-1, while the Rebels from Langford fell to a league-worst 1-5. "I felt we came out strong," Rams general manager Jeff Alamolhoda said. "That's one thing we've lacked the past few weeks. [We've been] a little slow out of the gates and I'm real proud of the guys. They came out fast and firing on all cylinders."
Despite their strong start, the Rams led by a mere four points, 14-10, heading into the second quarter.
The hosts outscored the Rebels 11-0 in the second stanza to take control of the game.
The third quarter mirrored the first, with the Rams holding a narrow 10-7 advantage in points. During the final few minutes of play, touchdown runs by Langley's Kyle Albertini from 11 and two yards out, respectively, closed out the game's scoring.
His first touchdown run came after Langley's Ryan MacDonald and Sergio Cabrera teamed up to tackle Rebels' punter Suhail Mathew for a 14-yard loss, forcing a turnover on downs at the Rebels' 25-yard line.
Alamolhoda lauded a depleted Rebels team that had six players quit on the organization last week.
This predicament forced some of the Rebels to play out of position.
"I will give as much credit as I possibly can to that coach [Tim Kearse], that organization, and those men on the football field," he said. "They've really turned the organization around from a class standpoint. They played us extremely hard and extremely tough and my hat goes off to their head coach for an amazing job of bringing them to where they are [now]."
Albertini led Langley's ground game with 22 carries for 215 yards and two touchdowns.
Fellow running back Nathan Lund also had a strong game, hitting the century mark in yards and then some, with 122 yards on 12 carries, his longest gain being 49 yards.
He also scored a touchdown. Quarterback Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren also posted a rushing touchdown.
Gilbert-Knorren completed nine of 16 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
He also had three of his passes intercepted.
He shared duties behind centre with Cecil Belanger, who was good on four of six passes for 51 yards.
Malcolm Williams (four catches, 72 yards) and Dan English (three catches, 38 yards) hauled in touchdown passes from Gilbert-Knorren.
At the other side, Rebels quarterback Hunter Lake had a decent outing, completing 14 of 27 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
Two of Lake's pass attempts were intercepted, one by Rams linebacker Joe Patko and the other by defensive back Jeff Paras.
Westshore's Sean Shepherd made two big plays in the opening quarter: a 77 yard kickoff return to set up a field goal and a 20 yard touchdown reception.
Rams' kicker Steven Thomas went twofor-two on field goal attempts, his longest from 20 yards away.
Thomas also booted six converts and an 85-yard kickoff that sailed through the end zone for a single.
The Rams now sit alone atop of the BCFC, two points better than the Vancouver Island Raiders and Okanagan Sun, both of whom sport 4-2 marks.
They'll be tested Saturday afternoon when they visit Nanaimo's Caledonia Park to meet the Raiders, in a rematch of the 2012 BCFC championship final.
"We've seen growth from the Vancouver Island Raiders from the beginning of the season to now," Alamolhoda said. "They continue to progress and develop, and challenge us."
GRIDIRON NOTES: Rams' defensive lineman Evan Foster recorded his ninth sack of the season. The BCFC record is 12 and the CJFL record is 12.5.
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