A running back (in white) does his best to fight through a tiny opening during the final day scrimmage at the Westshore Rebels spring camp at Westhills Stadium. Close to 90 players

Excitement builds around upcoming football season in Langford

Rebels’ spring camp attendees pumped for upcoming main camp

Not everyone survived the Westshore Rebels spring camp, by most accounts the most intense, fast-paced junior football camp seen here in years.

For those who stuck it out and battled through the drills and scrimmages under the warm May sunshine at Westhills Stadium in Langford, the end result was to know what they need to work on for when the B.C. Football Conference club’s main camp rolls around at the end of June.

“We’re right where I thought we would be,” said head coach J.C. Boice. “We’re getting a lot of work done, but we still have a lot of work to do. We came here wanting to find out if we had kids that would truly compete, and we did. There was a lot of kids on both sides of the ball that came out and competed. Now the key is to take all that energy and go into skill development. I’m very excited, but now the work really begins.”

The club saw a huge jump in attendees at the camp. The 93 players registered was a three-fold increase over last season, when, as team president Elise Pastro joked, “if you had a pulse we’d invite you to camp.”

Coming off a second straight 2-8 season, but one in which the team’s braintrust earned national junior football executive of the year honours for its work rebuilding the club, the Rebels continue to promote a positive and professional atmosphere from top to bottom in the organization.

“It’s been a lot of blood sweat and tears,” Pastro said. “As a board of directors, we’ve been meeting every Monday since (last) season ended, and the countless hours and efforts of our board to get us to where we are today – it’s exceeded our expectations and more.”

It’s all part of the master plan to bring respectability and competitiveness to the once-vaunted club.

The team wanted Boice as head coach last year, but were unable to secure his services. That, said Pastro, forced the club to work on the team’s public image first, getting the players more visible in the community, before trying to transform the team on the field. Where the long-term vision for the club began being crafted last season, she said, Boice is helping to complete that vision.

“Years ago you could be the beer-drinking, party animal football player, (but) the sport has changed so much. You needed to be conditioned and ready to perform this weekend and there were some players who had their eyes opened to the level of competition that’s on this field,” Pastro said.

The difference in atmosphere at the U.S. college-style camp was not lost on two individuals who’ve been around a while.

Third-year defensive tackle and guard Tyson Morison could barely contain his excitement when asked about the change in vibe from past Rebels camps he’s attended.

“The energy is so different; it’s so upbeat and there’s so many new faces out here,” he said of the players and coaches. He predicted the team would finish “over .500” this summer. “With all the guys and the quality athletes out here, we’re definitely going to do something special this season.”

Assistant head coach and former Rebels player Sheldon Halliman echoed that sentiment.

“Spring camp was solid,” he said. “I know that main camp will be even better, which tells me that we’re going to head into the season running and it should be a really exciting season for the Westshore Rebels.”

The Rebels may have four players battling for the quarterback position this season, and Boice hinted that the team may run multiple QBs.

Incumbent Hunter Lake “progressed a lot” through the weekend, Boice said, and highly-touted northern Alberta high school grad Talon Davies performed as advertised.

But Sooke’s Alex Wright, who hasn’t played much the last two years, showed enough chops “to get himself into the hunt,” Boice said. Add in Devoun Hallams, a 6-2, 200-pound stud whose rights are owned by defending BCFC champion Langley Rams – he’s seeking his release from the club to attend school here – and “it’s going to be a very interesting competition,” Boice said.

Boice said as many players as wish to work out with the team and learn about football will be encouraged to stick around through the season, but the team will have a 45-man roster limit for games.

For sponsorship or other information, visit westshorerebels.ca.

Just Posted

Neighbour details hearing ‘thuds’ the day girls found dead in Oak Bay

Jury at double-murder trial hears from Andrew Berry’s neighbour

‘Goodness prevails’: neighbours reflect following suspicious death of 60-year-old Metchosin man

Martin Payne was found dead in his Metchosin home on Friday. Police have confirmed foul play.

Family cycling affair Tour de Victoria rolls into ninth year

Riders can sign up for the 160 km Factor race, or distances of 140, 100, 60 30 0r 15 kilometers

Repatriation efforts work to heal and connect through history: Royal BC Museum

Victoria museum’s efforts bolstered by B.C. repatriation grant

Big Lonely Doug among largest old-growth trees now on protection list

B.C. to protect 54 old-growth trees, but critics say it’s not enough

VIDEO: Sparrows raise their chicks in Cadboro Bay deck planter

Jill Yoneda captured 11 days up close with tiny Junco sparrows

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Chinook retention begins on North Island, but amid new size limit

DFO calls measures ‘difficult but necessary’ following rockslide on Fraser River

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Most Read