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Westshore Rebels’ Jake Hall makes a big impact

At six-foot-11 and 330 pounds Jake Hall tends to stand out in a crowd. His massive, hulking body becomes even more magnified once you add football equipment and place him on an artificial field that features 12 players a side.
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Jake Hall only took up football at the junior level.

At six-foot-11 and 330 pounds Jake Hall tends to stand out in a crowd. His massive, hulking body becomes even more magnified once you add football equipment and place him on an artificial field that features 12 players a side.

The third-year Westshore Rebels’ offensive lineman is hoping he’ll get noticed by Canadian Interuniversity Sports recruits as the 21-year-old enters his second last year of junior eligibility in the B.C. Football Conference.

It would be an amazing story considering Hall only took up the game at the junior level, opting to play baseball for most if his young life.

“I’m hoping so. That’s the dream, to keep playing football as far as I can go,” Hall said of his hopes to attract a collegiate chance. “I don’t know what my plans are for after this season. I’ll send some film out to some CIS coaches and see how it goes, but that’s the goal. I’d like to go somewhere as soon as possible, but there’s always the option to play here and improve for next year.”

Lining up at left tackle, Hall will occupy plenty of space.

“It’s a blessing and a curse to be that tall, but if he plays within his body and plays that way, he can dominate anyone,” said Rebels’ offensive line coach Steve Pennell, who played at McMaster University and previously coached with the Hamilton Hurricanes.

“It’s about getting low, but it’s also understanding that you can’t play like the guy next to you because of your height. You have to understand your body and play to that strength. You can’t teach size, they say that all the time,” added Pennell, whose father, Rick, is a well respected OL coach formerly with the Langley Rams, UBC and SFU. “His wing span and his height are amazing, and he can move and he can run and teams will be sure to look at that.”

Hall’s come a long way since first being noticed in his Grade 12 year while working at Walmart. Former Rebels’ head coach Tim Kearse approached him about trying football.

“I thought about it for a bit,” said Hall, who grew up playing baseball for nine years with Triangle, Layritz and Lambrick Park. “I thought I wasn’t going anywhere for college in baseball, but I’ve always loved being a part of team sports and team dynamics.”

Hall broke his foot in his first year and missed five weeks, but after that started five games and last year he started every game on the Rebels’ offensive line.

Formerly weighing in at 355 pounds, Hall, who wears a size-16 cleat, has conditioned himself into a bona fide starter in two short years.

“It’s a combination of things. It took me a while to figure out the get-low-and-stay-low thing. It’s a lot of hand work and foot work, and balance, really,” he said.

And Hall is benefiting greatly from coaching.

“It’s been unreal. We really didn’t have an actual O-line coach. Last year Connor [Bryan], who was playing with us from the University of Calgary, was helping us. This year has been great and head coach J.C. Boice has been awesome. We’re one week in here and it’s already looking 50 times better than last year.”

“Jake has already become a leader to the group and he’s new to football,” said Pennell.

“He’s only played a couple years and most of these kids have been playing their entire lives. It’s really incredible that he’s become so good and a leader of the group, so fast.

“It’s not because of me. He just works hard. He’s here all the time and he runs sprints with running backs and defensive backs. He’s running his butt off all the time and big guys don’t tend to do that. It’s not a surprise that he’s become so good, so fast. It’s because of how hard he works.”

mannicchiarico@timescolonist.com

Twitter/tc_vicsports

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