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Westsyde Blue Wave senior football team folds; South Kamloops Titans begin season

Yamaoka coaching senior Titans
Westsyde Blue Wave
Cole Simmons carries the rock for the Westsyde Blue Wave against the Clarence Fulton Maroons of Vernon at Westsyde secondary last Friday.

The Westsyde Blue Wave will not field a senior varsity football team in 2021.

Cleve Maartman, who coaches the senior and junior teams at Westsyde, delivered the news to the senior group on Monday.

“We had to pull the pin on our varsity team,” Maartman said. “I looked around at the end of practise and we had 12 guys, five who have never played football. I just said, ‘Guys, I can’t do this.”

The 2020 B.C. Secondary Schools Football Association campaign was pre-empted by the pandemic. Maartman noted some students seem to have become accustomed to inactivity.

“COVID hit us. That knocked out about five players who you would normally get out of the basement,” Maartman said. “They’re hunkered down, not motivated to do much any more. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but I feel like there is a group of kids that just want to hang out. They did a lot of hanging out during the non-productive year.”

Maartman said the plan is to focus on the junior-varsity players who will eventually populate the senior team.

“I had to do it now,” Maartman said. “If I do it two weeks from now, everybody is handcuffed. It was a tough decision.”

Meanwhile, the South Kamloops Titans’ senior football team returned to action on the weekend for the first time since 2019.

Hometown South Delta, a AAA school, bested AA South Kamloops 35-13.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Titans’ head coach Brad Yamaoka said.

South Kamloops quarterback Jesse Peters threw touchdown passes to Deegan Falsetta and Grayson Peters in a losing effort.

The Titans will play hometown AAA New Westminster on Friday in exhibition play.

Regular season action is slated to begin on Friday, Sept. 24, when South Kamloops and Rutland square off at Hillside Stadium, a 7:30 p.m. start.

The Titans will toil this season in a hybrid AA/AAA division, along with AAA Rutland, AAA Mt. Boucherie of Kelowna, AAA Okanagan Mission of Kelowna, AAA Salmon Arm and AA Vernon.

JP Lancaster coached the South Kam senior squad in 2019. He passed the reins this season to Yamaoka, the former CFLer whose son and nephew are on the senior varsity squad.

Lancaster and his staff will lead the junior varsity Titans.