South Delta Rams have become the first Junior Bantam team from the Vancouver Mainland Football League to capture B.C. Community Football Association’s provincial 9-man championship.
Fresh off their VMFL title a week earlier, Rams took their season to Kamloops last weekend where they squared off with the Shuswap Chargers, Cowichan Bulldogs and Vanderhoof Vikings in 20-minute round-robin mini-games followed by a Texas shootout format in the final.
Victories over Shuswap (20-0) and Cowichan (16-0), along with a scoreless tie with Vanderhoof earned the Rams a bye directly to the championship shootout.
The Chargers defeated the Vikings and the Bulldogs to earn another shot at South Delta.
The Rams found the end zone on their second play from scrimmage when quarterback Kenny Scott combined with receiver Alex Lechner. A successful two-point convert put even more pressure on the Chargers.
A strong surge by the defensive line caught Shuswap by surprise as Jaxen Moore forced a fumble and it was recovered by Trent Clisby to secure the championship.
It capped a terrific afternoon for the Rams stingy and productive defence.
Scott scooped up a pair of fumbles for touchdowns in the opening win over Shuswap, while Jaren Yamaoka who had a stellar day with 15 tackles, a pair of quarterback sacks and six tackle assists.
Other terrific efforts were turned in by Max Edwards-Ryland, Aidan Kneesch, Robbie Fisher, Archie Whitehead and Brian Crarer.
“Our defense was solid throughout. We did not allow a single point the entire tournament which is a major accomplishment. I knew we could score so we just needed to dig deep on D.” said proud head coach Randi Yamaoka.
The victory over Cowichan featured excellent play up front from offensive linemen Lucus Bates, Braydyn Alkassab, Ethan Dodd, and Ryan Leung.
Darius Hanna also did a solid job at quarterback, filling in for Scott in the game against Vanderhoof. Ben Holmes hauled in a 35-yard TD pass from Scott in the initial win over Shuswap.
Scott received the championships’ team MVP award while Clisby was named most sportsmanlike player of the tournament.
“The VMFL is thrilled to have the Junior Bantam Provincial Championship in the Lower Mainland for the first time," said VMFL President Kevin Parks. “The 9-man JB football teams are usually dominated by the interior and island leagues but now the VMFL is a legitimate contender.”