V.I. Raiders tailback Zander Bailey and teammates practise Tuesday at Comox Field. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

V.I. Raiders back home to take on Kamloops

The Raiders face the Broncos on Saturday (Aug. 19) in BCFC action at Caledonia Park.

The V.I. Raiders can relate to their opponent this week.

The Kamloops Broncos are coming off a narrow 25-21 loss to the Westshore Rebels in a game they felt they could have won. That was the Raiders two weeks ago, following a 27-25 loss to the Rebels.

The Raiders came out and played angry in their next game, and that’s what they expect the Broncos to do this week as the teams meet Saturday (Aug. 19).

“They’re going to be upset and they’re going to be angry and they feel, I’m sure, that they let one slip away up there,” said Doug Hocking, Raiders coach.

V.I. knows that Kamloops is dangerous in all facets of the game. Hocking said the Broncos have a great quarterback, a balanced offence and outstanding special teams. Ryan Dekker, V.I. offensive lineman, said Kamloops has a stellar defensive line and linebackers who are quick to the ball.

“They’re playing with their chip on their shoulder as well,” he said.

The Raiders, although they’re coming off a 40-0 win over the Valley Huskers, won’t go into this week’s contest overconfident – they recognize there are a lot of things to work on.

“We did run the ball the best we have all season, but we need to be better running the ball to set up our pass,” said Dekker.

Hocking, too, talked about trying to do things better and differently with the run game and suggested it’s time for the team to decide on a feature back.

“We have a luxury of having a really deep backfield and some great running backs…” the coach said. “I am waiting to see a running back step up, take this offence on his shoulders and be that 15-20-carry guy, and at the end of the week we’re going to know who that is.”

So it’s a new week and a new challenge for the Raiders, as they move on from a shutout over a lesser opponent and prepare for a stiffer test.

“What worked against those athletes [last week] might not work again next week, but we always come back with something a little bit different to make it happen,” Dekker said.

GAME ON … The Raiders and Broncos kick off at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Caledonia Park. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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