The Valley Huskers got their best offensive performance of the 2021 BC Football Conference (BCFC) season, but it came in a 35-24 loss to the Vancouver Island Raiders Saturday (Oct. 30) in Nanaimo.
The junior football club put up 421 net yards of offence, out-gaining VI by 45 yards.
It happened in a strange way though. The O generated just 61 net yards in the opening half, then almost magically flipped a switch in a third and fourth quarters.
“We finally clicked,” said Huskers head coach Bob Reist. “We’ve watched film in the coach’s room and talked about how the offence is so close to breaking out, if we just hit a play here or there. In the second half we finally had the opportunity to see what our young offence is capable of.”
Chilliwack’s ground game was led by a two-headed monster. Brandon O’Connor rolled up 85 yards on 17 rushes, averaging five yards a carry, and he got into the endzone for one of three Husker touchdowns. Ebiye Okoko-Chomseng added 72 yards on 12 carries, averaging six yards per tote.
Quarterback Josh Janssen had his best statistical outing, completing 19 of 35 passes for 266 yards. He connected for two scoring strikes with top receiver Mateo Tuioti, who accumulated 128 yards on 10 catches.
The Huskers could have had an even bigger day if not for penalties. Chilliwack lost 140 yards to 18 flags, while the Raiders were penalized 11 times for just 52 yards.
“There are always penalties you might not agree with, and it is what it is,” Reist said. “But the things we can control are the things that will make you pull your hair out as a coach. The offsides. The silly penalties after the play. Things like that. But kudos to our guys for fighting through a penalty filled game.”
The Husker defence took a step back after several weeks of solid play.
“They probably played one of their poorer halves of the season in the first half, but once we got into the break we were able to settle down the guys, make a few adjustments and get back to playing our football,” Reist said.
There were bright spots.
Jaiden Claassen and Reece Wyke had fumble recoveries and Kurtis Flynn and Jonah Siciliano each had quarterback sacks. Andy Ofusuhene led the Huskers with five tackles and all-star Spencer Chavis knocked down two passes from VI QB Jake Laberge.
With the eight-game regular season schedule now in the books, the 4-4 Huskers hit the road this weekend for a playoff game at Langley.
The Rams finished 7-1 and lost for the first time last weekend, falling 13-6 at the Okanagan Sun.