Rams' Downey tops league

Langley Rams
Langley Rams' Nick Downey is tackled by a pair of Vancouver Island Raiders during Saturday's junior football game in Nanaimo.
— image credit: Greg Sakaki/Black Press

For the third straight season, Langley Rams kick returner Nick Downey is the special teams players of the year for the B.C. Junior Football Conference.

The league announced its all-stars and award winners on Wednesday, in advance of this weekend's semifinal playoff games.

Downey had 31 total returns (punt and kickoff) for 723 yards and four touchdowns. The numbers could have been even higher but teams began kicking away from Downey as the season wore on.

He also shared the league's outstanding receiver award with Vancouver Island Raiders' Andrew Smith.

Downey had 28 receptions for 812 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Smith had 42 catches, 799 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Downey,  the two-time reigning Canadian junior special teams player of the year, also finished as the league's leading scorer with 15 touchdowns, for 90 points. He was two points ahead of Okanagan Sun kicker Steve McFadyen.

In addition to the his two major awards, Downey was named an offensive all-star as a receiver and returner.

As a team, the Rams had six players recognized as all-stars, second only to the Raiders' nine.

Arie Nakagawa shared the outstanding linebacker award with Vancouver Island's Ranjit Atwall. Both were also named all-stars.

Nakagawa had 37 tackles, 14 assists, three sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. Atwall had 32 tackles, 18 assists, one-and-a-half sacks, an interception, a touchdown and a fumble recovery.

Other Rams earning all-star awards were place kicker Nick Naylor (11-for-19 on field goals); defensive lineman Scott Puffer (13 tackles, 10 assists, four sacks and one forced fumble); and defensive backs Jordan Linnen (16 tackles, four assists and two interceptions) and Nick Felicella (18 tackles, two assists, one sack, two interceptions and one touchdown). This was Linnen's second straight year he was selected.

Langley (5-5) faces the Okanagan Sun (8-2) in a semifinal game on Oct. 16 in Kelowna.

The other semifinal pits Vancouver Island (10-0) against the Westshore Rebels (5-5).

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