RAMS COMBACK BID FALLS INCOMPLETE
It took the Langley Rams three quarters to get their land legs back after sailing to the Island on Sunday afternoon and found themselves trailing the Westshore Rebels 41-17 with 12 minutes remaining in the game. But Khari Joseph’s young squad took control of the game and fought their way back to make the score 42-34 and found themselves down by eight with the ball on the Rebels 10 yard line with one play remaining in the game. Unfortunately Stephen Legare’s potential game tying touchdown pass fell incomplete in the Rebels endzone on the final whistle, ending what may well have been one of the greatest comebacks in BCFC history. Rams fans and coaches pleaded for what appeared to be pass interference call on the final play but the officials saw it differently.
It appeared that the game would be a defensive battle early as neither team could muster much offense through the first quarter and it was the Rams defensive unit that opened the scoring when linebacker Brendan Desjardine jumped on a loose ball in the Rebels end zone to give the Rams a 7-0 lead, the Rebels responded with touchdown and a late field goal had the Island squad up 10-7 after one quarter. It was much of the same in the second frame with the only scoring coming from a Rebels field goal to make the half time score 13-7 for the home team. Rams pivot Stephen Legare opened the second half moving the ball inside the Rebels 30 yard line and kicker Tiernan Docherty hit from 34 yards out to make the score 13-10, but the Rebels returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to make score 20-10 just 2 mins into the second half.
The Rebels went up 27-10 with seven minutes to go the third and capitalized on a Rams turnover deep in Langley territory to go up 34-10 just two minutes later.
The Rams fought back and Legare hit Khalik Johnson with a 25 yard touchdown strike to make the score 34-17, a huge blocked punt by Rams Shaiheem Charles-Brown put the ball back in the Rams hands at mid field heading into the final frame. The TSN turning point may have been on the Rams first possession of the fourth, Legare once again moved the Rams into the red zone, where Tiernan Docherty set up for a chip shot 20 yard field goal, a bad exchange resulted in a turnover that was taken by the Rebels out to their own 40, a 70 yard run on the next play put the Rebels on the Rams 1 yard line and they punched it in from there, in a matter of moments what could have been a 34-20 score turned into 41-17 lead for the Rebels with 12:20 to go in the game.
The Rams kept fighting and a big kickoff return by Ryan MacDonald set them up on the Rebels 34 yard line, it took one play from there for Legare to find Khalik Johnson with a 34 yard scoring strike to make the score 41-24 with 12 minutes to go.
A big catch by Johnson at the Rebels two yard line set up quarterback Jordan Fox’s plunge to make the score 41-31 with 6:37 remaining, the Rams roll continued on the ensuing kickoff when Jesse Cervas jumped on a Rebels fumble at the Westshore 35 yard line, Docherty’s 27 yard field goal to make the score 41-34 and the Rams had fought their way back to within a touchdown with five minutes on the clock.
The Rams defensive unit forced Westshore into a two and out on the next possession and gave the ball to the Langley offense at mid field, with two minutes to go the Rams opted to punt from mid field but the snap sailed over Docherty’s head and the ball was turned over to the Rebels deep in Rams territory.
The Rams were still alive when a Rebels field goal attempt went wide for a single point to make the spread eight points with under a minute to play.
A huge run by Ryan MacDonald brought the raucous Rams fans in attendance to their feet and gave them one last shot at tying the game from the 10 yard line. Legare had his target open in the endzone but the pass fell just short of the outstretched hands of Johnson at the final whistle, Rams fans and coaches pleaded for what appeared to be pass interference call on the final play but the officials saw it differently and the Rebels got away with a well earned 42-34 win to open their season.
Stephen Legare, starting his first ever Junior Football game, understandably had some ups and downs through the game but hung in there and battled with a heroic effort. The Langley Secondary grad finished the day 20 of 34 for 265 yards, 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. His favorite target was Khalik Johnson, who finished with 10 catches for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Cowichan native Ryan MacDonald had a solid day with 180 multi purpose yards for the Rams.
Shaiheem Charles-Brown led the way defensively for the Rams with 5 tackles a quarterback sack and a blocked kick, Brendan Desjardine had 5 tackles and a fumble recovery touchdown, Nick Westad had 6 tackles and a batted ball and Bashiru Sise Odaa had a solid outing with a pair of tackles and an interception.
It was a huge win for the underdog Rebels program but a not so devastating loss for the Rams, who sailed home in high spirits knowing that they let this one get away but will use it as a learning experience and get back to the practice field in preparation for next Saturday’s game in Chilliwack.
RAMS COMBACK BID FALLS INCOMPLETE