The Westshore Rebels and Vancouver Island Raiders rivalry did not disappoint on Saturday night, as the Rebels extended their winning streak to six straight.
With the stadium packed and even Premier John Horgan in attendance, the game was tightly played by both teams with thrilling moments.
The Rebels got on the board early thanks to a field goal from Kyle Clarke to take a 3-0 lead.
Shortly after, with 8:05 to go in the first quarter, the Raiders came up with a fumble recovery and scored to make it 10-3 after the first quarter.
The Rebels started the second quarter strong with a fumble recovery of their own. They couldn’t convert and settled for a field goal to make it 10-6.
With 1:05 left to go in the half, the Rebels took the lead thanks to a D’Saun Greenaway touchdown.
The game started to get chippy after that. With 30.5 seconds remaining in the second quarter, a Rebels player was ejected after some action on the far sideline, but the Rebels didn’t let that phase them. They came up with an interception with 4.9 seconds left and took a 13-10 lead into the break.
The Raiders came out strong in the third quarter with a touchdown of their own to make it 17-13 for the visitors from Nanaimo.
The chippy play continued with another Rebel ejected from the game with 2:47 remaining in the third.
The Rebels couldn’t convert in the red zone with 1:40 remaining. Clarke attempted the field goal but missed, awarding the Rebels a single point.
The Raiders gave up the ball with 12:10 remaining in the third quarter with a fumble. The Rebels took advantage of the visitors’ mistake with a touchdown to make it 21-17.
They kept the momentum going with an interception two minutes later but would miss another field goal to make it 22-17.
The Raiders gave it their last shot but the Rebels recorded a sack with 24.6 seconds to go. The Rebels then followed the trend of strong defence with another interception with 11 seconds remaining , , sealing the victory and their winning streak intact.
“That was an emotional roller coaster,” said Rebels head coach Charly Cardilicchia. “It was a great game for our program obviously, to sweep the Raiders. Last year we tied with them. We’ve overcome some things in this program that we put behind us and the monkey is off our back and with six in a row, we’re the hottest team in the country and I feel good about what we’re doing.”
Cardilicchia says the team will be looking at film of the ejections and possibly sending the situation to be reviewed.
The coach also spoke highly of his quarterback, Scott Borden.
“Scott Borden, kudos to him, he played the game of the year,” he said. “I know maybe on the stat sheet lately his completion percentage and things like that have been not as eye popping as we’d expect but the truth is that kid threw the ball really well and made some great decisions and adjustments.”
The Rebels next game is against the Rams in Langley on Sept. 23 with a kickoff time of 4 p.m.