J.C. Boice back to run Westshore Rebels’ offence

The Westshore Rebels coaching staff has experienced a bit of role reversal. As a result, there will be a familiar face back on the sidelines today at 3 p.m. when the Rebels meet the Valley Huskers in a must-win B.C. Football Conference game.

In 2015, then Rebels head coach J.C. Boice brought Shane Beatty aboard as his defensive co-ordinator. The team won the 2016 BCFC Cullen Cup championship and a berth in the Canadian Bowl that year against the Saskatoon Hilltops.

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Beatty, now Rebels head coach, has returned the favour by bringing Boice in last week as his offensive co-ordinator.

It caps a season of turmoil on the Rebels’ bench. It began when Charly Cardilicchia, named BCFC coach of the year in replacing Boice and leading the Rebels to a 9-1 record in 2017, stepped down midseason last month under controversy because of remarks he made about the league executive in the media. Beatty moved up to replace Cardilicchia as head coach.

“The organization has gone through a lot of transition,” said Boice, who travels the continent working for an athlete development company, and who has gained a reputation as a developer of quarterbacks.

“I am loyal to the Rebels. So I was willing to jump in when [Beatty] called. The timing seemed right.”

Boice’s first game back calling plays was in a 23-19 loss last week to the Huskers in Chilliwack. That left the Rebels in dire position at 3-4-1 with seven points. Westshore is three points adrift of a playoff berth with the Huskers, Vancouver Island Raiders and Langley Rams each on 10 points and tied for second place. The Okanagan Sun lead with 11 points. With two games remaining, the Rebels need to win out Saturday and next week in Kelowna against the Sun to avoid joining the winless Kamloops Broncos on the playoff sidelines.

“It’s about getting back to basics,” said Boice.

“We were depleted by injuries but our offensive yardage was up substantially last week in Chilliwack. I really like our young quarterback Mason Brown. He has the potential to be one of the most explosive quarterbacks in this league. And our offensive line only allowed two sacks in

40 passing attempts last week.”

Will the “quarterback whisperer” Boice be Brown’s mentor for the years ahead?

“I’m a one-week-at-a-time kind of guy,” said Boice, when asked about his future with the Rebels.

“All I know right now is that we need to win this game [today] against the Huskers.”

The turnabout in the Fraser Valley has been nothing short of astonishing for a Huskers club

(5-3) that went 0-30 the previous three seasons.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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