Photo courtesy of Joanna Kurowski Photography
The Ontario Conference champion London Beefeaters have announced that head coach Gavin Lake will not return to the team for the 2022 season.
The Beefeaters Board of Directors would like to thank Coach Lake for his hard work and commitment to the organization and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. He led the team to a 6-2 regular season record in 2021, an Ontario Conference title and their first ever berth in the Canadian Bowl.
No decision has been made on a new head coach at this time but an announcement will be made when the position has been filled.
For the first time in franchise history the Langley Rams are CJFL Canadian Bowl champions after a 37-0 shutout over of the London Beefeaters.
The Rams defence was yet again the story like it has been all season long. They pounded away at the Beefeaters offence not allowing them to get into a rhythm giving up just five first downs and a net offence of 20 yards. They also set a new Canadian Bowl record with an incredible 10 sacks with Tyler Eckert accounting for 3.5 of them (also a Canadian Bowl record) along with five solo tackles and was named the Canadian Bowl Defensive Player of the Game. Cole Barron also have five solo tackles and added a pair of sacks while Jesse Goedman had three tackles, a sack, forced a fumble and picked off a pass.
This performance all but solidified the Rams defence as the best all-time in CJFL history.
Offensively the Rams did struggle against a solid Beefeaters D as the bulk of the scoring came from the special teams. Kicker Tato Ferreyro-Araya booted a pair of first quarter field goals, before the Beefeaters gave up five conceded safeties, taking a 14-0 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter the Rams struck again on special teams, but this time it was courtesy of the return game. CJFL Rookie of the Year Daniel Kubongo took a punt back 85-yards for a major which doubled as the dagger in the hearts of the Beefeaters. Kubongo was also named the Special Teams Player of the Game.
With 6:57 left in the third, quarterback Michael Calvert struck for a 15-yard touchdown to Mario Johnson to increase the lead to 30-0. Then early in the fourth quarter Derek Best plowed his way into the end zone to round out the Rams scoring. In all, Best had a game high 11 carries for 55 tough yards. Calvert meanwhile was 12 of 25 for 144 yards and the major.
On the other side the Beefeaters in their first ever Canadian Bowl did play well on defence but wore down as the game went on. With the offence struggling to click the defence found themselves on the field for the majority of the game. All-Canadian Codey McRoberts led the charge with three tackles, a knockdown and forced a fumble. Jordan Fletcher claimed the lone sack and Devon Smith and Toby Gbobaniyi both intercepted a pass.
The Rams defence pitched the Canadian Bowl’s first shutout since 2003 and are the first BC Conference team to win a national championship since 2009.
Congratulations to the Langley Rams.
Players of the Game
Offensive – Michael Calvert – Langley Rams
Defensive – Tyler Eckert – Langley Rams
Special Teams – Daniel Kubongo – Langley Rams
Langley Rams @ London Beefeaters – Saturday December 4, 12:00pm EST
For the first time since 2009 the Canadian Bowl will be won by a team outside of the Prairie Conference when the Rams and Beefeaters collide on Saturday afternoon.
The BC Cullen Cup champion Rams are back in the national final for the third straight season and sixth time overall. They are 0-5 in this championship including a 35-18 set back the last time they were in Ontario in 1992 in Ottawa.
This season the Rams defence was arguably the best ever in CJFL history. They allowed an average of just four points a game during the regular season and in their three playoff victories to this point they have given up an average of eight. They are a fast, physical defence loaded with talent including five Conference All-Stars, two All-Canadians and the Conference Defensive Player of the Year; defensive back Kyle Clarot.
Over on the offensive side the Rams have been clicking in the last few weeks led by quarterback Michael Calvert. His favourite target has been the CJFL Rookie of the Year Daniel Kubongo who led the league with an average of 31.7 yards a catch. The Rams run game has also been impressive running behind five big bodies led by All-Canadian Nikos Lazarakis. Running back Derek Best and Joel Klaassen can chew yards in a hurry and pushing the defence on their heels. Best is coming off a brilliant game in the CJFL National Semi-Final and was named the Offensive Player of the Game.
The Ontario Conference champion Beefeaters are in the Canadian Bowl for the first time in franchise history.
They won their second straight Conference championship with a road win over the St. Clair Fratmen in dramatic fashion scoring 15 points in the final 1:59. In 2019 they may have fallen in the CJFL National Semi-Final game, but it gave them a taste of what to expect on the national stage. The Beefeaters are brimming with confidence as they make their way into their first ever Canadian Bowl.
Their offence is laced with veteran leadership behind quarterback Clarke McCallum. The pivot struck for 15 touchdown passes, 1380 yards and completed 55% of his passes in the regular season. He’s a dual threat quarterback using his legs to keep the defences guessing. When he does drop back to pass he has three dangerous weapons to spread the ball to including Mitchel Spence, Spencer Foster and Connor Depodesta.
The running attack is led by a stellar veteran and shifty rookie. Taz Bell has been in big games before and will relish the opportunity to play on Saturday afternoon in his first Canadian Bowl. He’s paired with the Ontario Conference Offensive Rookie of the Year in Geoffrey Clubine who led the Beefeaters with 461 yards and four touchdowns during the regular campaign.
The defence has played a major factor in the Beefeaters success in 2021. They have been led by All-Canadian Jordan Fletcher who was also named the Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Four players were named Conference All-Stars including two at the linebacker position. All-Canadian Codey McRoberts and Tyler Thompson led the Beefeaters with a combined six interceptions and 4.5 sacks during the regular season and will no doubt make an impact in the Canadian Bowl.
One guarantee on Saturday is the Canadian Bowl will be a well-coached game. Both head coaches have been here before and have plenty of experience under their belt. For the Rams Cory Philpot was part of the coaching staff in 2018 and 2019 when they played in the final. He is a former BC Lion, winning a Grey Cup in 1994. On the other side of the field Gavin Lake of the Beefeaters was part of the VI Raiders coaching staff in 2008 and 2013 when they played for the national crown. He has also won a Grey Cup as part of the 2017 Toronto Argonauts coaching staff.
This will be the first CJFL national championship game ever to be played in the month of December and believe it or not the weather shouldn’t play too much of a factor other than the cold. Environment Canada is calling for a mix of sun and cloud with a high of three degrees and only a 30% chance of participation.
Head to Head:
Records: Rams 7-1 (3-0 in playoffs) – Beefeaters 6-2 (2-0 in playoffs)
Points For: Rams 182 (63 in playoffs) – Beefeaters 294 (39 in playoffs)
Points Allowed: Rams 32 (26 in playoffs) – Beefeaters 116 (14 in playoffs)
Starting Quarterbacks: Michael Calvert – 19 of 42 (45%) for 417 yards and 1 touchdown (Rams) – Clarke McCallum – 82 of 149 (55%) for 1380 yards and 15 touchdowns (Beefeaters)
Leading Rushers: Joel Klaassen – 91 carries for 643 yards and 2 touchdowns (Rams) – Geoffrey Clubine – 52 carries for 461 yards and 4 touchdowns (Beefeaters)
Leading Receivers: Daniel Kubongo – 20 receptions for 634 yards and 5 touchdowns (Rams) - Michel Spence – 21 receptions for 430 yards and 8 touchdowns (Beefeaters)
Leading Tacklers: Colten Dejong – 23 tackles (Rams) – Jordan Fletcher – 20 tackles (Beefeaters)
Turnovers: Rams +16 – Beefeaters +21