Team BC is returning home from the 2010 Football Canada Cup as bronze medalists following a convincing win 38-3 over the host team from Nova Scotia on Saturday at Raymond Field on the campus of Acadia University.
British Columbia, appearing at the Football Canada Cup for the first time since 2000, concludes the tournament with a record of two wins and one loss.
BC managed to do something on Saturday that they were not able to do in their first two games of the competition – score early and often. While the 38 points posted by Team BC’s offence is undoubtedly a testament of just how dominating they were on the offensive side, it was actually Team BC’s defence that played the biggest factor in the game.“We lost the coin toss but we put the pressure on our defence and our defensive coordinator Dino (Geremia) to give them the ball first,” revealed Head Coach Tom Kudaba following the victory. “We kicked off both times but our defence was very consistent.
“Normally teams take the ball whether it’s the first half or the second half but this time we used a little reverse psychology and it worked in our favour because our defence has been playing steadier than our offence has for the three games that we’ve had here. We wanted to let them go on the field, take a little pressure off our offence and they did that in the first quarter extremely well.
“It was a total team effort – special teams, offence and defence – and all the kids got into the game. They’ve got a medal around their necks and that’s a great accomplishment.”
Indeed, BC’s opening score set up by the defence after an interception by Tyler Fong put them on the 25-yard line of Nova Scotia leading to Carson Williams hooking up with Desmond Bassi in the end zone on a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-0 with the convert. It marked the first time in this tournament that BC has opened the scoring in a game.
After a Nick Naylor field goal early in the second quarter made it 10-0 BC, Stephen Spagnuolo scored his first of two touchdowns on a two-yard run with 3:56 remaining in the first half to send BC to the locker room with a 17-0 lead. Nova Scotia pulled within a pair of converted touchdowns with a field goal early in the third quarter but Spagnuolo snuffed out any comeback hopes with his second touchdown on a nine-yard run with 1:54 left in the third quarter to increase BC’s lead to 24-3.
BC’s defence, which held Nova Scotia to just 11 first downs and one red-zone scoring chance in the contest, were rewarded on the scoreboard in the game as well with Casey Chin picking up a Nova Scotia fumble on and running in for a 10-yard score. Cam Bedore rounded out the scoring for BC with an eight-yard run with 1:57 left in the contest.
“It was hard-nosed BC football and we dominated I think,” Kudaba added. “(Nova Scotia’s) kids were game and they’ve got some talent but we’ve just got more overall talent and speed than them.”
While playing in the tournament was a undoubtedly a tremendous learning experience for all the players involved, Kudaba noted that it was very much the same thing for the coaching staff who had to find a way to read the body language of the players, keep them motivated and prepared but also understand how taxing it was on them to play three games in a span of a week when most are used to just playing one game per week in their respective leagues.
“Dino (Geremia) and I were just talking about what an experience it was for us as coaches to be here in this tournament and how much we’ve learned ourselves and how to put a team through a week-long tournament with three games,” said Kudaba. “I’ve never experienced this as a coach. It’s a whole different dynamic.
“We had to keep them disciplined and focused and physically healthy enough to play three football games in a week. I don’t know if anybody does this around the world. I just can’t imagine playing three football games in one week.”
In addition to praising his players, his coaching staff and his support staff, Kudaba also had rave reviews for the host province for putting on a successful tournament.
“I think the venue was fantastic, the food was great, the ambience, all that stuff,” said Kudaba. “The only problem was the weather – and they can’t control that – the first two games. The first game was so-so, the second game was brutal in terms of hurricane-type rains, and today was a beautiful sunny day.”
Saskatchewan captured the 2010 championship with an 18-10 victory over Quebec in the gold medal game.
The 2011 Football Canada Cup will be hosted by Football Alberta and will take place at the University of Lethbridge. The event is tentatively scheduled for July 9 to 16, 2011.