If there was ever a statement game at this juncture of the season for Langleyâ€™s junior football team, this was it.
The Langley Rams eviscerated the visiting Kamloops Broncos 70-24 in B.C. Football Conference action Sunday at McLeod Stadium.
â€œI thought they [the Rams] played great. They came out with a mind set and focused to win, but I do think that we pushed ourselves above and beyond our emotional state and took some penalties,â€ said Rams head coach (and new dad) Jeff Alamolhoda, whose wife Lisa gave birth to a baby girl on Saturday. â€œBut overall the men played well and focused more for that game.â€
The Ramsâ€™ needed a bounce back win after falling 52-44 to the V.I. Raiders the week before in Nanaimo. It was the Ramsâ€™ first loss of 2014 after opening the season with three straight victories.
The loss to the Raiders showed the Rams that they need to come ready to battle for four quarters of football, and canâ€™t have any lapses, their bench boss noted.
Early last week, the Rams held a players-only meeting to refocus in preparation for the Broncos.
â€œI think there is an awareness that, every week, if we donâ€™t come prepared, and donâ€™t come focused, other teams will take it to us,â€ Alamolhoda said. â€œWe canâ€™t nonchalantly approach games. The results [against Kamloops] spoke for themselves. The men got back to the grindstone.â€
The Rams are now tied atop the BCFC with the Okanagan Sun (both with 4-1 marks) after handing the Broncos (3-2) their second setback of the campaign.
On Sunday, Langley led 15-3 after the first quarter, 32-10 at the half, and 60-24 after three quarters before scoring the only 10 points of the final stanza to win in a romp.
Rams running back Mario Narte had a huge game, carrying the ball 13 times for 156 yards and three touchdowns from 30, 19, and three yards out.
Ryan MacDonald, who racked up 121 rushing yards on 12 carries, also scored a touchdown on the ground for the Rams.
Quarterback Dylan Tucker led Langleyâ€™s air attack by completing nine of 12 passes for 126 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his touchdown throws went to Kyle Pich (for 16 and 15 yards), with the third going to Malcolm Williams (for nine yards).
Langleyâ€™s Daniel English returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, giving the Rams a 53-17 lead.
Rams kicker Steve Thomas was good on both of his field goal attempts.
The home teamâ€™s final touchdown came off a 77 yard interception return from Clovis Lumeka.
Next up for the Rams is a visit to Kelownaâ€™s Apple Bowl, where they will take on the Sun on Saturday in a battle of the top two teams in the BCFC.
â€œIt will be a challenge for them to see if they can continue to play at a high level for 60 minutes,â€ Alamolhoda said. â€œWhen you face a team like the Okanagan Sun, who are a formidable opponent, you canâ€™t have lulls, and you canâ€™t have down times. You have to play hard out football. We have to be able to execute the way we want to execute.â€
Langley returns home on Saturday, Sept. 13 to take on the Valley Huskers, with a 7 p.m. kickoff at McLeod Stadium.