Canada: BC Junior Football Conference – Langley Rams blank Chilliwack Huskers

The Langley Rams evened their record at 1-1 in Canada’s BC Junior Football Conference with a 39-0 victory over the Valley Huskers at Exhibition Stadium in Chilliwack, BC Saturday night .

The smoke from the wildfires plaguing the Canada’s west coast for the past several weeks, seemed to have dissipated in time for kickoff.

The underdog Huskers were already in tough  from the opening whistle and made things a bit tougher on themselves when quarterback Noah Falconer fumbled on the opening possession of the game, defensive lineman Adam Marchetti pounced on the loose ball and the Rams took over on the Huskers 22-yard line.

Rams quarterback Rylan Matters went to work and quickly had the Rams on the Huskers 10… then the flags started flying. Matters threw an apparent touchdown strike to Ryan MacDonald from the 10 but the play was negated by a penalty, two plays later Matters hit Khalik Johnson with what looked like a 29-yard touchdown strike and once again it was called back. By the time the officials stopped marching the ball backwards the Rams were looking at second and goal from the Huskers 40, the series ended with a 38-yard punt single by Wayne Palmer that gave the Rams a 1-0 lead with four and a half minutes gone in the game.

Langley Rams defenders closing in on Chilliwack Huskers ball carrier Photo: Yvonne Churly

Langley ended the opening frame with Matters guiding them 55 yards on 10 plays to the Huskers 15-yard line, the drive stalled there and Palmer kicked a 22-yard field goal to make the score 4-0 Rams after one quarter of play.

The second quarter was much the same as the first. A big punt return by Nathan Lund set the Rams offence up on the Huskers 17-yard line, a 15-yard penalty moved them back to the 33 and on the next play Matters then hit Johnson with what looked like a 33-yard touchdown pass, once again an infraction was called and it negated what would have been Johnson’s second touchdown of the game… in just five plays the Rams went from first and 10 on the Huskers 17-yard line to third and 40 from the 47.

Langley finally got one that counted when MacDonald romped in for a touchdown from 26 yards out and after the Rams checked for flags , they celebrated the touchdown. MacDonald’s touchdown made the score 11-0 with 10 minutes remaining in the half.

A couple minutes later Matters took the ball on the Rams 53-yard line and directed the offense all the way to the Huskers six-yard line, Joe Carter ran it in from there to give the Rams an 18-0 lead, three minutes later Adam Marchetti picked up his second fumble recovery of the game and shortly afterwards Matters dove into the Huskers end zone from one yard out, making the score 25-0 with just over two minutes to go in the half.

Stephen Legare took over in relief of Matters late in the half and the third year pivot was welcomed by the Huskers defense with a James Moar sack and a Danny Harris interception, Neverthleess, there was no damage done by the pick and the Rams went into the break leading 25-0.

The Huskers came out of the split needing a big play and caught the Rams napping with a successful short kickoff to open the second half, the well executed kick by Harris actually bounced off of Andrew Palmer’s helmet and out of bounds, giving Chilliwack the  ball on the Rams 45. The Huskers couldn’t muster much from there and three consecutive tackles by Isaiah Stewart forced them into a turnover on downs at the Rams 28-yard line.

Legare was back under center to start the second half and Nathan Lund made his job a little easier this time out, the fifth year running back was given the ball six consecutive times and when the smoke cleared the ball was on the Huskers nine-yard line. A big tackle by Travis Dietrich brought Palmer out for a 17-yard field goal attempt, however the Rams came away empty handed when holder Ryan MacDonald had to bail on the play and was dropped for an 11-yard loss, turning the ball over on downs at the Huskers 20.

Huskers first year Head Coach Bob Reist had more tricks up his sleeve and called for a fake punt on third and 16 from his own 36, punter Harris completed a pass to Desmond Jeanson but Tyler Moxin stopped him short of the mark to force another Huskers turnover on downs.

Legare set up the Rams offense at the Huskers 48 and this time it was Joe Carter’s turn to run, Carter was given the ball four times in the next six plays and finished the series off with a one-yard touchdown run, the convert was no good and the third quarter ended with the Rams up 31-0.

The play of the game, and the season so far, came three minutes into the final frame. The Huskers were threatening to score with the ball at the Rams 22-yard line when rookie defensive back Kyle Clarot picked off Falconer’s pass at the four-yard line and returned it 106 yards for a touchdown to make the score 38-0, the interception return touchdown was the third longest in the 70-year history of the BCFC.

Wayne Palmer rounded out the scoring with another single point to make the final score 39-0.

Nathan Lund led all rushers with 100 yards on 10 carries and added another 52 yards on three punt returns for a total of 152 multi purpose yards on the day and Joe Carter pounded his way to 60 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns. In total the Rams rushed for 240 yards on the day and head Coach Khari Joseph was happy with the effort:

“The most important thing is establishing the line of scrimmage, any time you can run the ball you have a chance to win. I am really proud of our guys because we challenged our offensive line and we challenged Lund, we came out and ran the ball hard and seeing that was super encouraging.”

Rylan Matters completed 5 of 10 pass attempts for 83 yards and Legare was 4 of 9 for 33 yards and 2 interceptions. Khalik Johnson had a pair of touchdowns and a bunch of yards taken away from him and still led all receivers with 4 catches for 63 yards.

Kyle Clarot led the way defensively for the Rams with a pair of tackles, a knock down and the 106-yard interception touchdown, Isaiah Stewart had five tackles and a knock down and Baltej Dhanoya five tackles and two knock downs, in total Rams defenders knocked down six and intercepted a two Huskers passes on the day, the other interception was by Jordan Lund.

Clarot has been impressive in both of the Rams first two games and Joseph sees good things ahead for the Langley Minor Football product ”

Kyle has All Star potential, he has been one of the better players on defense through the first two weeks and I see bigger and better things for him if he keeps it up”

Even though the game was comfortably in hand at the time of the interception Joseph thought it was a huge boost for the young guys on his team:

“Just to see him and the defense all running down the sidelines in front of us was fun to watch and brought a lot of excitement to our bench, he got some good blocks out there and you gotta give some credit to Jordan Lund, who took out one guy then peeled off and made a play on the last guy who could have caught Kyle.”

The Rams were flagged 17 times for 155 yards, some might think the officials were picking on the Langley squad but they were equally as strict with the Huskers, who were tagged 18 times for 139 yards. Joseph was concerned with the number of penalties “even if half the number of penalties had been called that’s still too many, were not going to beat good teams doing that,” he said. He also feels that the way to get the message though to the team is with a little old school action “I don’t think we have to talk about it, we just have to coach them up and get better, and there is going to be some running at practice for it for sure,” he added.

In other Junior Football action on Saturday the Westshore Rebels defeated VI Raiders 27-25 and the Okanagan Sun were 36-0 winners over the Kamloops Broncos.

The Rams next game is Saturday August 12 when they host the 2-0 Okanagan Sun at McLeod Athletic Park Stadium, kickoff is 5PM.

Chris has been involved in writing about football in Canada for the last 30 years. He is currently the media rep for the Langley Rams of the Canadian Junior Football League