Last year’s B.C. Football Conference champions will return several key contributors in 2017, even if a few familiar faces have moved on.
The Westshore Rebels announced this week that 2016 Canadian Junior Football League offensive lineman of the year Christian Krause, 2016 BCFC all-star defensive lineman Kent Hicks and defensive lineman Jeremie Drouin should make the Rebels a force in the trenches, as was the case last year.
“It’s just a good situation for me right now,” said Krause, a Mt. Douglas alum, of his decision to remain a Rebel. “I like the direction that (head coach) Charlie (Cardilicchia) wants to go with the program.”
“As with any junior football team your goal is to coach up players so they can move up in their football career,” Cardilicchia said in a statement. “We were successful last year and have some big shoes to fill and I am confident we have done that.”
Meanwhile, quarterback Scott Borden, who played five games for the Rebels last year before gradually losing his role to Ashton MacKinnon, will give the team some experience under centre.
Borden threw for 674 yards in five games last year, adding six touchdowns against just two interceptions.
He added 99 yards on the ground, finding the endzone twice.
“I thought last year he didn’t get a full opportunity to show us what he has but I believe in him. I think he’ll do big things,” Krause said.
In a surprise move, the Rebels also announced that running back Trey Campbell would be rejoining the team, just weeks after he accepted an offer from St. Mary’s University in Halifax.
Campbell ran for 605 yards on just 65 carries last year for an eye-catching average of 9.3 yards per attempt. He added 14 grabs for 132 yards through the air, producing six all-purpose touchdowns.
New recruits, running back Raisuan Provo and receiver Desron Kier, are also pegged for key offensive roles.
“We are going to have an explosive team this year with the talent coming in from our new recruits and the strength and experience of our returning players,” Cardilicchia said.
Among high school graduates, offensive lineman Tyrese Hogue, also a former Mt. Douglas Ram, is expected to make an early impact.
“I just like his drive,” Krause said. “Honestly he just wants to be an excellent player and he’s got kind of a nasty attitude to him which I can really apprecaite because I just want to be the nastiest player in the league next year.”
The Rebels open the 2017 season with three straight road games, beginning on July 29 in Kelowna against the Okanagan Sun.
Their first home game is slated for Aug. 19 against the Langley Rams.