The Langley Stampeders accomplished what they set out to do, from the midget football squad’s first practice way back in July.
And that was to win their second consecutive provincial championship title.
The Langley Minor Football squad consisting of 16,17, and 18 year olds has been unstoppable, and has now won 22 league and playoff games in a row.
The Stamps capped a fantastic 2016 campaign Sunday at McLeod Stadium.
In an all-Langley, BC Community Football Association 12 man provincial final, the south prevailed over the north, with the Stamps rallying from an early 10-point deficit to defeat the North Langley Kodiaks by a 25-13 count.
“We got ourselves in a bit of a hole,” Stamps head coach Keith Pickett said.
“Those are the moments when you see a true team come together, where they (the players) faced a hill to climb.”
Part of the Stamps’ success comes from the fact that the core of the team has been together for years, said Pickett, who has been coaching some of the players for more than a decade.
“Because of that history, the team was able to go off of that,” he added.
This was the fourth BCCFA final of the day at McLeod Stadium, and the grandstands were filled with nervous fans from both sides.
And for good reason: the last league game between these cross-town rivals resulted in a 7-6 victory for the Stampeders.
The Kodiaks struck early, hitting pay dirt to jump ahead 7-0, on a quarterback sneak by Nicolas Nica.
North Langley’s next possession resulted in a 12 yard field goal off the foot of Charlie May, making the score 10-0 Kodiaks at the end of the first quarter.
Momentum swung back and forth during the second quarter, until Langley’s defence caused a fumble by the Kodiaks, which the Stamps recovered at the North Langley 30.
Langley seized the opportunity, with Wes Foss scoring the Stamps’ first points of the day.
The Kodiaks then blocked the convert attempt, as North Langley carried a 10-6 lead into the half.
Momentum began to shift early in the third quarter, with the Stamps recovering their opening kickoff.
While not able to score, the Stamps pinned the Kodiaks deep into their own end of the field for the first time in the game.
Then, fielding a Kodiaks’ punt at the 53, Nathan Murray returned it to the North Langley 19.
Three plays later, Azuka Okoli plunged in from the one for the Stamps’ second major of the day.
The Stampeders missed the convert, making the score 12-10.
The Kodiaks responded immediately with a seven play march from their 40 resulting in an 18 yard field goal from May that moved them back into the lead at 13-12 to end the third stanza.
The second play of the fourth quarter saw Kodiaks recover a Stamps fumble and take possession on their own 26.
But the Stamps intercepted an errant pass and returned the ball to the Kodiaks’ 15.
Two plays later, Foss scored his second touchdown of the game.
Langley’s two-point conversion attempt was thwarted by the North Langley defence, holding the score to 18-13 in favor of the Stampeders.
The Stampeders then took possession on their own 53 with 6:36 remaining. A nine play march, aided by a roughing penalty, led to another Foss major.
The Kodiaks got the ball back with 1:56 to go, and were subsequently forced into a turnover on downs at the North Langley 52.
This allowed the Stamps to take the ball and run out the clock.