V.I. Raiders run through a play at walk-through Tuesday night at Comox Field. The team is preparing to face the Westshore Rebels on Saturday (Aug. 6) in Victoria.

V.I. Raiders run through a play at walk-through Tuesday night at Comox Field. The team is preparing to face the Westshore Rebels on Saturday (Aug. 6) in Victoria.

Early season exciting for young Raiders team

The beginning of August is a long way from crunch time, but it’s an exciting time for V.I. Raiders players and coaches.

The beginning of August is a long way from crunch time, but it’s an exciting time for V.I. Raiders players and coaches.

This is the point in the season when a young football team is building its identity.

“People don’t realize we’re younger this year than we were last year,” said Matthew “Snoop” Blokker, Raiders coach, pointing out that there are only five 22-year-olds on the roster.

A day after the team’s first game this past weekend, the coach was already anxious to see what the Raiders could accomplish next.

“I just can’t wait to play,” Blokker said. “The more we play, I know the better we’re going to get. I’m really excited about it.”

The defence, in particular, has a lot of first-year Raiders, but there are also newcomers on offence and on special teams.

“There’s rookies all over the place,” said Andrew Smith, veteran receiver. “So it’s good to see people step up and make plays and fill spots.”

Veteran linebacker Ranji Atwall said the Raiders are “pretty pumped” about the new additions to the team.

“To see young guys strive on this level, it gets you pretty excited to play even harder,” he said. “It’s fun to see.”

GAME ON … The V.I. Raiders (1-0) face the Westshore Rebels (1-0) on Saturday (Aug. 6) at 7 p.m. at Bear Mountain Stadium in Victoria. For a game preview, please visit www.nanaimobulletin.com tomorrow afternoon (Aug. 5).

sports@nanaimobulletin.com