2012 is a distant memory. That is the mindset of the Langley Rams as they embark on a new B.C. Junior Football Conference season this Saturday night.
Last season saw the Rams win the Cullen Cup as league champs, ending the six-year reign of the Vancouver Island (VI) Raiders. But Langley came up short of the ultimate goal — the Canadian Bowl.
Langley led the Saskatoon Hilltops 21-6 in the third quarter, but lost 23-21.
Nearly 70 per cent of the Rams roster (45 players) is back for the 2013 season, but new head coach Ted Kirby said they wont be resting on the accomplishments of last season.
“We haven’t won anything this year,” said Kirby, who was promoted from assistant head coach to head coach. He will also continue in his role as defensive line coach.
Jeff Alamolhoda remains as the general manager. The move is a result of Alamolhoda’s work commitment as he was unable to juggle it all.
Both men started with the Rams three years ago.
“Last year is last year,” Kirby continued. “It is a great memory and 10 years from now, we might be able to look back on it and think it was awesome, but it was a loss, we didn’t finish.
“It’s time to move forward and worry about this year.”
The Rams host the Kamloops Broncos on Saturday at McLeod Park with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
“My expectation is just to get better every practice,” Kirby said.
“(Saturday) showed some great things but also exposed some weaknesses that we need to work on.”
He was referring to his team’s 28-6 victory over the Valley Huskers in a controlled scrimmage.
The Rams will be very similar to last year’s squad.
“You are going to see a very similar defence as last year: very aggressive and very relentless,” Kirby said.
He also predicts the offence — which is led by new offensive co-ordinator and assistant head coach Kevin Phillips (formerly of SFU) — to be quite dynamic.
“He runs a very high tempo, energetic offence,” Kirby said.
It is actually quite entertaining to be in a meeting with this guy and watch them do what they do on the field. It is pretty fun to be quite honest.”
Leading the offence will be new quarterback Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren, who formally played at the University of Saskatchewan.
“He is a special kid, real fun to watch,” Kirby said. “He can beat you with his feet or he can beat you with his arm.
“He makes plays happen when there is nothing there.”