First the negative: the Langley Rams defence got shredded for 529 yards of net offence — including 334 yards along the ground — and their quarterbacks were picked off four times.
And now the positive: despite all that, the Rams still had a chance to win the football game on Saturday. The Rams settled for five field goals and were trailing by just two points with less than two minutes to go in the team’s home finale at McLeod Athletic Park against the first-place Westshore Rebels in BC Junior Football League action.
But the defence could not get the stop and the Rebels sealed the deal with Jamel Lyles’ fourth rushing touchdown of the night in a 38-29 victory.
Westshore wrapped up first place in the BC Junior Football League
A Langley victory would have given the team a shot at first place and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Instead, they head to Kelowna on Sunday to play their regular season finale against the Okanagan Sun with both teams sporting 6-3 records. A Rams victory means the Sun would travel to Langley in two weeks time for a semifinal showdown while an Okanagan win or tie would send the Rams back to Kelowna for that game.
“I feel like we didn’t play our best game and we had an opportunity to win it at the end,” said Rams coach Khari Joseph.
“We made too many mistakes at the end. As a defensive coach it is frustrating because I know we are better than that.”
As has been the case for much of the season, the Rams too often settled for field goals instead of touchdowns.
Tiernan Docherty — who was named the league’s special teams player of the week for the fifth time — was good on all five of his field goal attempts, connecting on kicks of 22, 24, 31, 35 and 36 yards.
“We need to convert in the red zone and score touchdowns … especially against an offence that can score points,” Joseph said.
The Rams were down 14-7 after one quarter and 21-19 at the half. The Rebels had the only 10 points of the third quarter before Langley scored 10 straight to pull within two, 31-29, with two minutes to go.
“We had a chance to win. Penalties and little mistakes here and there, top to bottom, coaches and players, when you play like that you are not going to win,” Joseph said.
The Rams had a season-low eight penalties for 80 yards, but seven of those flags came in the second half and two were crucial late, Joseph said.
One was a 15-yard clipping penalty as his team was trying to get into field goal range and the other was when a referee bumped into a coach along the sideline, another 15 yards when the defence was trying to get a stop.
Joseph said that latter flag was disappointing as the referee could have easily given a warning.
Stephen Legare scored a six-yard rushing touchdown while Colby Peters connected with Jay Jay Jackson on a 46-yard pass for the other major.
Peters was 2-for-5 for 53 yards with one touchdown and one interception after taking over for Tommy Robertson (13-for-25, 140 yards and three interceptions).
It sets up a showdown on Sunday with the Sun.
“We have to get back to basic fundamentals and technique and execution.
“That is what was lacking on Saturday. I feel like if we do those things, we will win,” Joseph said.
“That is the focus, take care of the little things.”
“The thing I love about this team is they always play hard, they never quit. We just need to be consistent.”