Chilliwack’s Valley Huskers took their first loss of the season, falling 38-17 to the Westshore Rebels.
The B.C. Football Conference (BCFC) rivals squared off Saturday (July 30) at Starlight Field in Langford (Victoria), and the Huskers put on a good show for three quarters.
Facing a Rebels team that knocked off the defending BCFC and national champion Langley Rams in week one, the Huskers hung tough for three quarters.
Chilliwack only trailed by a field goal (20-17) after 45 minutes, but the Rebels tagged them for 18 points in the final 15.
“We didn’t play up to our potential, and credit Westshore for executing at a higher rate on the day,” said Huskers head coach Bob Reist. “We made some big plays to get there, but we needed to finish. We gave up some big plays in the fourth quarter and it hurt us.”
After a solid week one performance against the Prince George Kodiaks, the offence struggled against the athletic Westshore D. Quarterback Josh Janssen completed 10 of 25 passes with no touchdowns, serving up interceptions to De’von Young and Tanner Hayward.
“I though the passing game struggled to get into rhythm,” Reist said. “We dropped footballs or didn’t connect on too many opportunities.”
The Huskers did have a better day on the ground.
Running back Reece Wyke ground out 121 yards on 17 carries (7.11 yards per carry), including a 55 yarder. Take away that one long run and the average was a more pedestrian 4.1 yards per carry, but it was still a good sign, and Tyran Duval had a touchdown run.
“I thought our running game was very effective,” Reist said. “Reece was over 100, the first 100 yard rusher in a long time for us. The OL (offensive line) again looked very strong.”
Christopher Rolack had the other Husker major on an electrifying 69 yard punt return, while kicker Aidan Saunders added two converts and a 21-yard field goal.
Chilliwack’s defence had trouble containing the Westshore passing game. Rebels QB Tim Jessie had an efficient day, completing 18 of 30 attempts for 277 yards and two TDs.
Kierran Poissant and Eli Nelms-Horton hauled in the scoring strikes, and Poissant led Westshore with five catches for 100 yards.
Jessie added a touchdown run.
Gerren Hardisty produced a special teams score, running a Husker kickoff back 96 yards, and the rest of Westshore’s points came from three Simon Hales field goals and a single.
“I thought we played pretty well on D for most of the game,” Reist said. “The big plays hurt in the fourth (quarter). We need to eliminate those.”
Chilliwack’s Shane Claridge had a big play for the Husker D, scampering 70 yards on a fumble recovery.
Luc Rodrigues had a QB sack and Andy Ofusuhene led the team with seven tackles. Jaiden Claassen had six.
The Huskers are back home this weekend to face the surprisingly winless Langley Rams, who fell 36-20 to Westshore in week one, and 20-7 to the Okanagan Sun last weekend.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 6) at Exhibition Stadium.