Last year ended in a loss in the championship game for the Langley Rams and coach Jeff Alamolhoda vows the team will use that experience to better themselves.
“That game itself was a real learning process for us as a team, understanding what it is going to take not only to win the provincial title, but also the type of caliber of football that goes on in the playoffs,” he said.
“We were all left with a pretty bitter taste in our mouths.”
The Rams, playing their first season at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park after a long and storied history in Surrey, lost in the B.C. Junior Football Conference championship game 44-0 to the Vancouver Island Raiders.
The Raiders won their sixth consecutive BCFC title.
Alamolhoda said the team can learn from the dominant programs about what it takes to get to that level.
“(The players) have come to work,” he said.
“And that is what we have emphasized — punching the clock and going to work because we understand every day is going to count.
“The season is a process and we need to build within that process.”
Last season, Langley started slowly, not picking up their first win of the season until week four but won five of their next seven games to finish 5-5.
The Rams went 2-0 in the pre-season, defeating the Westshore Rebels 35-30 and the Chilliwack Huskers 70-0.
They open the season on Saturday (Aug. 4) in Kelowna against the Okanagan Sun. Langley defeated the Sun in last season’s semifinals.
“We have to work real hard to accomplish the goals we have set for ourselves,” Alamolhoda said.
The defence, under new co-ordinator Khari Joseph, has shown signs of being a swarming, attacking D.
“We want 12 hats on the football at all times,” Alamolhoda said, noting that is something the team did not consistently do in 2011.
“It is showing already. I know if we continue working on it through the season, we will get to where we need to be.”
On offence, new quarterback Greg Bowcott takes the helm.
Bowcott, who most recently played for the SFU Clan, is six-foot-four with great athletic ability and arm strength, and should make the Rams even more dangerous offensively.
Jon Roney, who also saw action in 2011, gives the Rams one of the top quarterbacking tandems in the league.
The offence boasts depth and lots of playmakers, both in the backfield and in the receiving corps.
“We want to see big plays out of our playmakers,” Alamolhoda said. “We need to get the ball in their hands and let them showcase what they can do.
“When they get the ball, they are going to make plays.”
One of the returning playmakers is Nick Downey who finished with 15 total touchdowns last season.
He was also named the top kick returner in Canada for the third straight season.