A nearly perfect season so far has the Cowichan Blackout U14 boys Gold team within striking distance of achieving their yearlong goal of winning a provincial championship.
The Blackout’s list of achievements this season is lengthy. During the Christmas break, they won the Bring It Indoors Invitational in Oak Bay. Then they clinched the league title, going undefeated in league play.
After that, they took the Lower Island B rep position, then played the Powell River Eagles, the Upper Island B rep team, for the Island berth in the Coastal Cup, winning that game 2-1. Last weekend, they beat the same Powell River team again to win the Island Invitational playoff between the Lower Island and Upper Island Gold league champs, this time sinking the Eagles 4-0. "I guess it was because we knew them better," head coach Will Chaster said of the more lopsided result. "We didn’t hold back."
That gave the team a berth in the provincial tournament in 100 Mile House this July.
In between the games against Powell River, the Blackout won the Okanagan Ice Breaker in Kelowna over the Easter weekend, where their opponents included the defending Alberta provincial champions from a level up.
Over the entire season, the team has lost just once, falling 2-1 to a Vancouver Island Premier League boys team from Juan de Fuca. They also had one tie against the Cowichan VIPL U15 girls team, a longtime rival of the U14 boys.
"We have a history of playing them a couple of times a year," Chaster said.
A focus on winning the provincial title has kept the team going strong this season.
"The kids are keen this year," Chaster said. "They have a belief in what they are doing. They set the goal last May of being B.C. champions, and they’ve been focused on achieving that goal for a year now."
This Saturday, the Blackout will play the Coastal Cup semifinal at the Cowichan Sportsplex at 2 p.m. against Coastal FC of Surrey. If they win that, they’ll advance to the finals, then get a break for a couple of weeks.
Chaster sees no reason why the team’s run should end any time soon.
"I feel good about the way the kids are playing," he said.