It took a few days for the shock to wear off.
When a team goes into its opening game ranked No. 3 in the country, it doesn’t expect to lose 62-6. But that’s what happened to the Westshore Rebels last weekend against the Okanagan Sun in the B.C. Football Conference.
“We were not who we thought we were. So there’s a sense of humbleness. We got punched in the mouth and didn’t respond in our opening game,” was the blunt assessment by Rebels quarterback Colby Henkel.
“So the mood has been really intense this week in practice. There’s not a lot of joking around when you get 60 points laid on you.”
Henkel said the Rebels are determined and will be ready to answer today in their home curtain-raiser against the Valley Huskers (1-1) at 4 p.m. at Starlight Stadium.
“It’s a bounce-back game to prove ourselves,” said veteran Rebels outside-linebacker Cordell Willmott.
“Last week was a reality check. But everything is correctable. We believe we are still a championship-calibre team that needs to correct our mistakes and focus on discipline, fundamentals, mental errors and the little things. We have talent. We need to play together.”
Response was the word of the week in practice.
“We’re a young team that got kicked in the teeth and we’ll see how we respond,” said Rebels president Rob Lervold.
“As far as we’re concerned, we got all the kinks out, and last week is in the rear-view mirror. The players are really excited to be in front of their home crowd and will be energized by it.”
The Rebels will be hoping to follow the script used by the Huskers, who responded to their 39-8 opening-game loss to the Sun by beating the Kamloops Broncos 36-15 in their next game.
Of the few Rebels opening highlights, inside-receiver Kieran Poissant caught five passes for 114 yards as Henkel completed 19 of 34 passes for 174 yards, including a touchdown toss to Michael Oliva, with no interceptions.
The Vancouver Island Raiders, who dropped their opener last week 22-1 in Nanaimo to the Langley Rams, meet Kamloops on Sunday in a match-up of 0-1 teams. It is a Broncos home game but will be played in Chilliwack due to the COVID restrictions in Interior Health.