Fresh off another lopsided win over Chilliwack, Langley's junior team is prepping for a potential first-place clash against the VI Raiders this Saturday at McLeod Stadium.
Record-wise, Saturday's B.C. Football Conference match-up in Chilliwack matched a heavyweight against a flyweight.
The heavyweight, the Langley Rams, dispatched the flyweight, the host Chilliwack Huskers, by a 45-7 score.
The win improves the Rams' record to 5-0-1, identical to that of this Saturday's opponent, Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Raiders.
The Huskers dropped to 0-6 with the loss.
Under a warm sun at Chilliwack's Exhibition Stadium, Rams' rookie Cecil Belanger received his first ever junior football start at quarterback, and went 7-16 passing for 87 yards with an interception. Langley led 3-0 after the first quarter.
Greg Bowcott took over at quarterback during the second quarter, leading the Rams to a 31-0 lead by halftime.
Langley had a 38-0 advantage after the third quarter.
The teams traded touchdowns in the final stanza to round out the scoring.
Bowcott, who was good on four of eight passes for 59 yards and a touchdown, played the third quarter while Belanger was under centre during the fourth quarter.
The Rams did most of their damage on the ground, with Kyle Albertini carrying the ball nine times for 139 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Daniel Xavier finishing with 90 yards and a major score on eight carries. Malcolm Williams made his team-leading ninth touchdown reception of the year.
Star returner Nick Downey didn't have a punt return on the day, but the Huskers' strategy of kicking away from him directly resulted in four offensive touchdowns for the Rams. One Huskers' punt travelled just three yards, another was five yards long, and four more were short and out of bounds, giving the Rams good field position to start scoring drives.The Rams blocked a Huskers' punt and recovered the ball on Chilliwack's eight-yard line on the final play of the game.
The Rams' defence held the Huskers to minus-one net yards offence during second half.
Langley defenders knocked down six Chilliwack passes, had two interceptions, and sacked Huskers' quarterback Braden Churly five times.
Langley's defensive player of the game, defensive back Nick Felicella, made three solo tackles, was in on two other take-downs, made a special teams tackle, and knocked down three passes.
Despite all those positives, Rams' head coach Jeff Alamolhoda wasn't completely satisfied.
"A win is a win," Alamolhoda said. "We came out of there victorious but we didn't accomplish what we said we'd accomplish during the week: the little things, taking care of penalties, and polishing things up going into the last part of our schedule."
"We weren't completely on our game, but it's always challenging facing a opponent who doesn't pose as big a threat as other teams in your conference."
. . .
The Rams are champing at the bit as they prepare for the VI Raiders in a showdown of the top two teams in the BCFC. Opening kickoff is 4 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 22) at McLeod Stadium.
"We're really excited," Alamalhoda said. "Our guys have things they want to prove to themselves. We're looking forward to an opponent really giving us a run. They've been the best in the conference the last six years in a row and we're in a position of challenging them."
The last time the teams met was Aug. 11 at Nanaimo's Caledonia Park, where the Rams and Raiders settled for a 31-31 tie.
"We were happy with the way we performed, but not excited as if we had won that game," Alamalhoda recalled.
Heading into the biggest matchup of the year so far, the onus is on Alamolhoda and the Rams' coaching staff to keep the players' emotions at a somewhat even keel.
"One of the things we've talked about is being able to elevate our game to the highest level without having to lose our focus and mind-set on what we're there for," Alamolhoda said. "Guys have a tendency to get overly physical and take a penalty or two. They have to play on the edge but have to play on that fine line. A team like this [the Raiders] is going to challenge us in every facet, and we need to respond- in a positive manner."
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