The Canadian Bowl will be played in perfect weather this weekend, according to Westshore Rebels head coach Dexter Janke.
“Perfect football weather is any weather in which football is being played,” says Janke.
The Championship of junior football kicks off at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Langford’s Starlight Stadium, and there’s more perfection in play than just the weather.
The Rebels and visiting Saskatoon Hilltops each boast perfect records heading into the Canadian Bowl.
“They understand this is the next game on the schedule,” Janke says of his team. “There’ll just be a few more people in the stands and a different opponent.”
It’s an opponent who boasts 22 Canadian Bowl championships. The Hilltops are tied with the Okanagan Sun for the most national championships in the 140 year history of the Canadian Junior Football League.
Hilltops head coach Tom Sargeant says his group didn’t come this far to lose.
“We don’t even understand that word,” says the affable Sargeant. “We’re just going to show up and play our best game of the year.”
The only time a Vancouver Island team won the Canadian Bowl on Island soil was in 2006, when the Vancouver Island Raiders won their first of three championships on a last-second field goal by kicker Scott Dixon.
That Raider team featured a young Andrew Harris, who would re-write junior football rushing records en route to becoming the CFL’s all-time leader in yards from scrimmage by a Canadian.
Rebels Quarterback Te Jessie relishes the chance to play this game at home, and isn’t taking the national stage for granted.
“How many people actually get the opportunity to play in a championship game, let alone win a championship? It’s tough,” he says.
As for conditions at kickoff, the forecast calls for a balmy 11 C with an 80 per cent chance of rain.
“We’re from the prairies, we don’t care,” says Sargent, who noted that his team would play the game in the parking lot if necessary.
“We’d meet them there,” says Janke. “We have no problem with that.”