Westshore Rebels got some good news Wednesday as they prepared for Saturday’s B.C. Football Conference game against the Valley Huskers in Chilliwack.
The Rebels, 0-2 after a 39-9 loss last Saturday to the Vancouver Island Raiders in their home opener at Westhills Stadium, won two of the league’s three B.C. LIons player-of-the-week honours.
The Rebels’ Nathan Leader, whose 211 receiving yards on six catches, one of which went for 66 yards, topped both teams, earned top offensive player honours. Westshore linebacker Chris Pastro was given the defensive nod, after recording 2.5 sacks and five tackles overall.
The connections with Leader helped third-year quarterback Hunter Lake throw for 437 yards on the day. He didn’t find the end zone with any completions, however, and threw two interceptions, while running in his team’s lone touchdown from close in, in the fourth quarter.
Rebels head coach Andrew Axhorn, back on the sidelines full-time now after fulfilling other commitments, said Lake will only get better as he learns the offence.
“People have to remember Hunter couldn’t make it over for a while after training camp,” Axhorn said. “He’s only going to get better. The more he’s inserted into the offence, the the more he’s around the other players – he’s going to continually get better. He’s a helluva leader and the players look up to him.”
Despite losing two games by lopsided scores, the coach remains upbeat about his team and its prospects for the rest of the season.
“To get caught up in the score is pointless,” he said. “(Against the Raiders) one bad quarter flipped us out of a game. I know I have a good squad, a talented squad. There’s no panic mode, it’s business as usual.”
The team didn’t have Axhorn on the sidelines for either of their first two games and as such hasn’t seen his game face, he said. The usually laid-back coach lit into them at practice at one point Wednesday.
He called the opening two games a “reality check” for the many young players on the team.
“It showed them you can’t take this lightly. (Other teams) can come at you and come at you fast during games. It’s been a very good learning lesson that this is the real deal.”
Axhorn said he’s excited he’ll be working with the team the rest of the way and senses the players are as well.
Following this Saturday’s game, the Rebels’ next home game is Aug. 16 at Westhills Stadium against the Langley Rams. Game time is 4 p.m.