Photo courtesy of AllSportMedia.ca
The BC Conference champs are on the search for a brand-new head coach after Dexter Janke stepped down.
Janke is heading to Toronto after taking the head coaching job for the York University Lions. He becomes their 12th head coach in school history and actually has a tie to the school after his younger brother attended and played ball from 2015-2019.
What a terrific, but short career in the CJFL for Janke. Following his final CFL season in 2019 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, he was named the Westshore Rebels secondary coach and special teams coordinator for the 2020 campaign, which was eventually cancelled due to the pandemic.
In 2021 he took on a larger role with the coaching staff adding defensive coordinator to his responsibilities. Heading into the 2022 season he was named the assistant head coach and almost immediately following that season, was named the head coach and assistant general manager while continuing to fulfill the position of defensive and special teams coordinator.
Looking at the numbers, in his first season in 2021, the Rebels had a 1-7 record; they then went 7-3 in 2022, before the franchise’s first perfect 10-0 season this past year, culminating in a BC Conference Cullen Cup title and the right to host the Canadian Bowl. He was also named both the Gordon Currie CJFL Coach of the Year and the BCFC Coach of the Year in 2023.
His dedication and commitment to the Rebels was a major attraction for York University and as the Rebels say on their Facebook page, “A great football coach and even better person who has had a tremendous impact on our program and community. Dexter will always be a part of the Rebel family and we wish him great success in his new role as head coach at York.”
Thank you, Dexter, for your passion and dedication in developing players in the CJFL!
The 2023 season was filled with memorable moments, incredible plays and outstanding team victories. Players reached new personal highs and fans were treated to thrilling comebacks, high scoring games and plenty of on field drama.
None of these moments and memories are possible without a group of individuals who are often taken for granted…the officials. Game in and game out, they lace them up just like the players and arguably are more important than any other personnel that hit the sidelines. Without officials, the games aren’t played.
Where players, coaches and staff on the field celebrate milestones, so too do the officials and 2023 was no different will several memorable moments.
Tracy Paluzzi (pictured) worked her first game as a head referee on July 29th in a game between the Langley Rams and Valley Huskers in the BC Conference. In doing so, she made history becoming the first woman to referee a game in that Conference within the CJFL. She did such a great job, she worked three additional games in BC on August 19th, 26th and October 14th.
She follows in the footsteps of Sharon Airey who became the first female head referee in a CJFL game on September 24, 2022 when she worked the Edmonton Huskies-Edmonton Wildcats crosstown rivalry tilt. Sharon worked her second CJFL game on September 17, 2023 when the Wildcats hosted the Saskatoon Hilltops. She has been an official in the Prairie Conference since 2017 and has been assigned to multiple regular season games, playoff match-ups and was on the field during the 2022 Canadian Bowl in Regina.
In addition to these incredible talents, Emily Clarke worked as the head referee on August 20, 2023, and was one of three CFL officials who worked as a referee in the Prairie Conference this past season as part of a pilot program for the development of officials in the referee position. She and Quebec’s Georgina Paul are the first two females to ever work a CFL game which took place in 2019.
Every football level and league across the country is looking for committed people to become an official. You can travel the province, the country and even the world being involved as a referee in football and get paid while doing it. Find out all the perks through Football Canada’s “Become an Official” program. Click HERE for more information.
Westshore Rebels 33
Okanagan Sun 19
We will have new CJFL Canadian Bowl champion after the Westshore Rebels beat the Okanagan Sun on Saturday in the BC Conference Cullen Cup championship game 33-19. The Rebels will now host the 2023 Canadian Bowl on November 11th.
After a low scoring first half, the Rebels exploded for 29 points in the third quarter enroute to the victory. Their offence was led by All-Star quarterback Te Jessie who was 13 of 23 for 175 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Cairo Berry in the third quarter. Jessie also ran for a touchdown as did Gerren Hardisty.
The Rebels’ defense was very good once again and even got on the scoreboard in their massive third quarter. On a bad Sun snap, BC Conference Defensive Player of the Year Demar Hohnstein picked up the loose ball and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown. Riley Berfelo also forced a turnover, intercepting a pass.
The Sun reign over the CJFL ends after falling to the Rebels on Saturday. Their offence outgained the highflying Rebels 312-284 but found it difficult to get into the endzone in the second half. Quarterback Liam Kroeger completed 10 of 18 for 165 yards and hit Ethan Mashall for a major in the fourth quarter.
Running back Elelyon Noa had the lone touchdown of the first half when he punched it in to give the Sun a 12-4 halftime lead.
The Sun defence did force six Rebels turnovers and collected five sacks. Romario Red had a pair of sacks and Tariq Brown and Isaac Hegwood each picked off a pass. Philip Palmarin had an outstanding game blocking two kicks and had a team high six tackles.
The Rebels advance to their first Canadian Bowl since 2016 when they hosted and lost to the Saskatoon Hilltops. The game will take place at Starlight Stadium in Westshore, BC on Saturday November 11th as the Rebels will host either the Hilltops or the St. Clair Saints.