By Ian Ferguson
Two former Blaine football players are making waves in the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL).
Jordan McCarty and Cliff Crews graduated from Blaine in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Both played football at Reedley College in California, and are now turning heads on CJFL teams north of the line.
The CJFL, a nationwide amateur league, is made up of around 19 teams across six provinces. It’s open to players between the ages of 17 and 22, and some CJFL athletes move on to the Canadian Football League when they’ve surpassed the age limit.
Cliff Crews anchored the offensive line at center for the Okanagan Sun this season, helping his team go 10–2 in his rookie season. Crews was recently named an All-Canadian.
Jordan McCarty started at quarterback for the Langley Rams this season, and led his team to the 2014 Canadian Bowl, where they narrowly lost to the Saskatoon Hilltops 23–21.
After taking on the starting role in September, McCarty completed 62 of 118 passes for 1,021 yards and 10 touchdowns, the third highest completion percentage among quarterbacks in the British Columbia Football Conference.
Looking back on a successful season in which he threw 72–104 in four games, McCarty said he had fun playing for the Rams and was happy with his offensive production.
“I love the team,” he said. “The coaches are great, my teammates were great, and it was a supportive atmosphere.”
Crews and McCarty were roommates at Reedley College in California before moving on to the CJFL.
Crews, whose Okanagan Sun team went 9–1 and lost to Langley in their final game of the season, had positive memories of his time at Blaine.
“Coach Jay Dodd made a point of focusing on character as well as football. He prepared us to be good people,” Crews said.
The age limit means 22-year-old McCarty is out of the program unless the rules are changed. Talks are underway to increase the eligible age, and if that happens McCarty would be happy to play for the Rams another year. He has also heard from Canadian universities that are interested in him, and he’s trying to keep his options open.
Crews has another year of eligibility with the CJFL, and has an upcoming evaluation with the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League.
Reflecting on his years at Blaine High School, McCarty said he has good memories of playing for Blaine.
“It prepared me in a positive way for life after high school. I grew a lot and I learned a lot in my time there,” he said.