The Valley Huskers defence continues to put the BC Football Conference (BCFC) on notice.
In the long history, shutout wins have been a rarity. But it happened Saturday night (Oct. 16) in Kamloops, with Chilliwack’s ascending defence blanking the Broncos 15-0.
The Husker offence had another rough night, but it didn’t matter with the D squeezing the life out of the home team. Kamloops managed 234 net yards and didn’t even get close enough to try a field goal.
Quarterback Ayden Cummins completed just 10 of 24 pass attempts against the stingy Husker secondary, and served up two interceptions to ball-hawking defensive back Jordan Chizda. Chilliwack’s Jaiden Claassen, Adamo Urciuoli, Kurtis Flynn and Cam Hughes all had fumble recoveries and the Huskers stopped Kamloops four times on fourth down gambles, hitting double digits (11) in forced turnovers.
“I’m not sure if we’ve had a shutout before as a program,” said Husker head coach Bob Reist. “It’s a nice stat for the defence. Shutouts are not easy to come by. It takes an outstanding effort. They executed well and created opportunities.”
Chilliwack has had two shutout wins before, according to former board member Keith Currie. In the early days of the franchise, Currie said they blanked the Abbotsford Air Force in 2001, with the caveat the Huskers mercy-ruled their foe and the clock didn’t stop in the second half.
In 2002, Currie said the Huskers shut out the Kamloops Cowboys by a 61-0 score.
If Chilliwack could combine its recent defensive dominance with any kind of offence, the team would really have something. But the offence continued to struggle, even against a Broncos team that gives up an average of 46 points per game.
The Huskers actually had less net yards (217) than Kamloops, with more than half that total (134) coming on the ground. Chilliwack averaged 4.19 yards on 32 carries. Brandon O’Connor (45 yards on 15 carries), Ebiye Okoko-Chomseng (60 on 11) and Colton Nedotiafko (26 on five) led the way.
O’Connor and Okoko-Chomseng had touchdown runs. Kicker Reece Wyke, filling in for injured kicker Ethan Homan, nailed the point-after on both and added a single-point on a missed 44 yard field goal.
First-year quarterback Josh Janssen completed 13 of 27 pass attempts for 120 yards. Mateo Tuioti was the top receiver, turning seven receptions into 60 yards.
“I thought the offence did some good things,” Reist said. “We were able to move the ball on the ground. Penalties and a couple key drops took away some big plays through the air.”
With the win, the Huskers improved to 4-3 and hold down third place in the six-team BCFC standings.
They have a bye this weekend before finishing the regular season with a potentially huge road trip to Nanaimo to face the Vancouver Island Raiders (2-4).
VI fell 70-25 to the powerhouse Okanagan Sun Saturday.