Westshore rallies to win BCFC championship
By Cleve Dheensaw
But the Rebels found themselves in an unfamiliar position at half-time of the Cullen Cup league championship game on Saturday, trailing the defending champion Okanagan Sun 12-4, in a peculiar half punctuated by three safeties.
Then came something lifted out of a movie script: “The veterans, myself included, stood up in the dressing room at half time and said a few words — that we are a special family and this is not how it ends for us,” said star Westshore running-back Gerren Hardisty.
Inspired, the Rebels pulled themselves together in the second half and rode a 29-point third quarter to a 33-19 victory at Starlight Stadium to hoist the Cullen Cup for the first time since 2016.
The club will be looking for its first Canadian Bowl title when it hosts the 115th national junior championship game on Nov. 11 at Starlight against the winners of the semifinal next Saturday between the champions of the Prairie and Ontario conferences.
The Cullen Cup final turned on an Okanagan fumble early in the second half that the Rebels recovered and ran in for a touchdown. “It’s the playoffs and momentum is a big key and that gave it to us,” said Hardisty.
It was a flip of last season when the Sun went undefeated on their way to becoming Canadian Bowl national champions, defeating the Rebels 38-0 along the way in the 2022 Cullen Cup final in Kelowna.
This will be the Rebels’ third Canadian Bowl appearance following 2003 and 2016.
The last Island team to win the Canadian Bowl was the Nanaimo-based V.I. Raiders in 2006, 2008 and 2009 powered by eventual CFL star and four-time Grey Cup champion Andrew Harris.