Rebels fend off Rams to win season opener

Trey Campbell ran for a pair of second-half touchdowns and Jamel Lyles recorded a 98-yard major score on a kick return for the hosts.

Westshore did surrender more than 300 yards of offence in the second half after denying the Rams any offensive progression in the opening 30 minutes (just 70 yards of net offence). A whopping 185 yards in penalties in the second half nearly caught up with the Rebels, who are happy to be 1-0.

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“Here’s the reality, I want to say initially that was an ugly win, but we played a very good Langley team and we came out with a win that we earned, so I’m incredibly proud of these kids,” said Rebels head coach J.C. Boice.

“We have a lot of work to do, but the one thing about these kids is they’ve clearly shown they’ll go to work. It’s going to be a fun game Saturday against the Raiders.”

The Rebels play host to the Vancouver Island Raiders on Saturday at 7 p.m.

“I thought coach [Shane] Beatty’s defence played well, forced turnovers and they were tough on first down. I was very pleased with Jamel Lyles and Trey Campbell is a dude, too.”

As for the penalties, Boice called it “brutal.”

“It was very bad play, undisciplined and not playing smart. It was typical of a first game and we’ll get things cleaned up,” stressed Boice, who lost starting quarterback Ashton Mackinnon in the fourth quarter on an ejection.

Lyles (who had 197 yards on three kick returns and 30 yards on three punt returns) also scored on a five-yard run and Mackinnon connected with Kain Melchior on a 24-yard touchdown catch for the hosts, who led 13-7 at the half in front of a big crowd at Westhills Stadium.

Kicker Callum Duke added field goals from 32 and 25 yards for the victors.

A huge swing came on a blocked Langley field goal attempt that was followed on the next offensive play by a 71-yard run by Campbell, who then rumbled in for a one-yard score.

Quarterback Stephen Legare then went off in the second half, connecting with receiver Khalik Johnson for eight catches for 152 yards, including two 25-yard scores. Jordan Fox also scored on a one-yard keeper.

Tiernan Docherty added field goals of 34 and 27 yards for the 0-1 Rams.

Defensively, the Rebels were a stubborn bunch in the first half. Juslin Makambo had a pair of interceptions while Tyree Cayer and Shaun Robinson added one each over 60 minutes. Matt Pastro had a pair of quarterback sacks and Robinson had six tackles.

Mackinnon completed 11 of 20 passes for 141 yards and had one intercepted, but also ran for 101 yards.

“Overall, it was an excellent game. The offensive line executed and defence executed and came through at the end,” said Campbell, a 20-year-old Toronto native.

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