Kyle Clarot put an exclamation mark on the Langley Rams first victory of the season.
With the Valley Huskers threatening to ruin the Rams’ shutout bid in the fourth quarter, Clarot picked off quarterback Noah Falconer at the four-yard line and raced 106 yards the other way to cap off a 39-0 Langley victory on Saturday night at Chilliwack’s Exhibition Stadium. The Rams improved to 1-1 while the Huskers fell to 0-2 in BC Junior Football League action.
The 106-yard return was the third longest in league history.
Clarot — who was also named the defensive player of the week on Tuesday — also had two tackles and knocked down a pass and has been solid through the first two weeks.
“The thing about (Kyle) is he has all the physical tools (but) it is how smart he is,” said Rams coach Khari Joseph.
“He is a quick learner, he is able to take in information and apply it right away.
“The game is not too big for him (and) he has this quiet confidence.”
The play capped off a brilliant defensive team effort for the Rams.
Langley held the Huskers to 11 first downs and just 193 yards of net offence.
The defence was particularly stingy in the first half with Valley generating just four first downs and 30 yards of net offence.
The Rams had two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and forced four turnovers on downs.
In the first half, Adam Marchetti had a pair of fumble recoveries while Jordan Lund had an interception.
“I love that our defence is flying around and getting as many bodies as they can around the ball carrier,” Joseph said. “It is just a beautiful thing to see when they are working together.”
Langley’s Wayne Palmer scored a punt single and 22-yard field goal in the first quarter, before the Rams blew things open in the second quarter.
Ryan MacDonald (26 yards), Joe Carter (six yards) and Rylan Matters (one yard) all found the end zone for a 25-0 lead at the half.
The only points in the third quarter were from Carter’s second rushing touchdown, this time from one yard out.
Nathan Lund (10 carries, 100 yards) and Carter (12 carries, 60 yards) did a great job along the ground as the Rams racked up 240 rushing yards.
“We stressed coming out and starting the game off with intensity and playing every play hard, and I think they did that for four quarters,” Joseph said.
One issue the coach said needs addressing is penalties as the Rams were flagged 17 times for 155 yards.
Sixteen of those infractions occured in the first half compared to just one flag in the second, leaving Joseph to wonder about the consistency of the officiating.
Regardless, he knows the team’s coaching staff needs to do a better job of instructing their players.
“We still have to focus on coaching them up, explaining what is a penalty and what isn’t, what you can get away with, what the refs are looking for,” he said. “That’s on us a coaching staff, but the players have to make it important as well.”
The other area which needs addressing is improving the passing game.
Neither Matters (five-for-10, 83 yards) nor Stephen Legare (four-for-nine, 33 yards, two interceptions) were able to have much success. Part of that is tied to penalties, however, as three touchdown passes from Matters were called back because of flags.
“I have faith in our offence (and) it is a young season; we are still working on getting the ball into our playmakers’ hands,” Joseph said.
“The plays were there to be made, the quarterbacks just have to lock in on the right reads and throw the ball on time and I think we will be fine.”
Khalik Johnson led the receivers with four catches for 63 yards — but also had two touchdown catches for 62 yards wiped out be penalties. Other than that, no receiver had more than one reception.
The Rams will be in for a big test in week three as they host the league’s only unbeaten team, the Okanagan Sun (2-0) at McLeod Athletic Park on Aug. 12. Game time is 5 p.m.