Westshore Rebels’ Khaliel James (21) runs the ball against the Kamloops Broncos at Westhills Stadium last year. (Black Press Media file photo)

Westshore Rebels’ Khaliel James (21) runs the ball against the Kamloops Broncos at Westhills Stadium last year. (Black Press Media file photo)

Rebels undefeated after pair of comeback wins

Coach stresses eliminating penalties a key

Rick Stiebel/News Staff

Two dramatic come-from-behind victories in a row have Westshore Rebels coach Shane Beatty feeling optimistic about the team’s fortunes this year.

After falling behind early for the second game in a row, the Rebels came up with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter in their home opener on Saturday to defeat the Vancouver Island Raiders 39-30.

“It was an amazing resilient comeback win,” Beatty said. “We started slow again but played phenomenal in the fourth quarter.”

He cited three defensive touchdowns and a special teams score as key elements in the win that followed on the heels of the team’s dramatic 21-20 win against the Valley Huskers in Chilliwack on Aug. 3 to open the season.

“We have the potential to be a very good team this year,” said Beatty, who took over as head coach last year. “If we can put four quarters together I think we can be phenomenal.”

Beatty was especially pleased with the performance of a couple of players in the win over the Raiders at the newly renovated Westhills Stadium. Jeffroy Ojong established a team franchise record with 239 yards on four catches, while quarterback Shawn Lal filled in admirably for Colby Henkel, who played the first game of the season.

“Shawn was amazing, especially considering he only had four practices,” Beatty said.

Clearing up the “disgusting” amount of penalties the team has taken so far will be a key in preparing for the game against the Okanagan Sun on Aug. 17 in Kelowna, Beatty stressed.

“If we can win this week against the Okanagan Sun we are absolutely a playoff calibre team,” Beatty said. Our goal from the start of the season is to win it all.”

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com