For the first time in league history, the Esquimalt-based Victoria Spartans junior bantam football team is Island champion.
The team clinched the victory from long-time provincial champions, the Victoria Renegades, with a convincing 22-14 win on Sunday in Langford.
“Since they were formed early in the 2000s they’ve won every year,” said Allen Lavoie, president of Spartans Football. “This is the first year they’ve been knocked off.”
“It was a very exciting game,” said head coach Todd Reuther.
“It wasn’t won or lost by individual players, it was a real team effort. For us, our game was won by the offensive and defensive lines.”
Eight teams form the co-ed league with rosters from Comox to Victoria, and Reuther said balanced competition gave way to a good season for each team. The Spartans finished 4-2 in regular season play.
“It’s been really good for youth development,” he said.
Reuther thinks the team is in good shape as they next face off against the Meadow Ridge Knights Nov. 25 in Langley aiming for a spot in the provincial championship game Dec. 3 in Coquitlam.
“We disperse the ball nicely and we can rely on a great number of our kids to perform well,” he added.
The VICFA was founded by Roy Vollinger in the early 1990s and gives kids an opportunity to play football who may not otherwise have teams available at middle school.
The junior bantams’ win was bittersweet for the Spartans whose pee wee team was stopped on the second yard line in the last play of their game. It lost to the Westshore Warriors 36-30.