Late surge lifts V.I. Raiders to win

The V.I. Raiders defeated the Kamloops Broncos 37-27 in Canadian Junior Football League action on Saturday night in the Interior.

The Broncos bucked for awhile there, but the Raiders managed to finish on top.

The V.I. Raiders defeated the Kamloops Broncos 37-27 in Canadian Junior Football League action on Saturday night in the Interior. The Nanaimo team trailed 19-11 at halftime, but scored a touchdown late in the third quarter and added another 19 points in the fourth to seal the victory.

“We played as poor as we possibly could on offence for the first half and … defence and special teams kind of kept us in the game,” said Matthew (Snoop) Blokker, Raiders coach.

The V.I. squad focused its offensive game plan more on the run in the second half.

“We did a good job at doing that and once we got some energy again, I really thought we just took over the game,” Blokker said.

The game was filled with turnovers, as each team threw four interceptions and fumbled the ball away twice.

Jaeden Marwick got the bulk of the time behind centre, finishing 8-for-17 passing for 148 yards, three picks and one touchdown pass to Dustin Rodriguez. Jamie Ybarra was 2-for-5 with an INT.

The Raiders gained 216 yards on the ground, using a variety of looks as four different guys got at least five carries. Michael Ritchott was most productive, rushing eight times for 72 yards including a 45-yard TD run. Mikhail Maloff had 51 yards and a touchdown.

Ryan Jones was good on both his field goal attempts, one from 12 yards and one from 39.

Defensively, Ariel Fabbro had a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown and Cole Bishop had two INTs. Dylan Chapdelaine had the Raiders’ other pick and also led the team with seven tackles.

Ash Gayat had two sacks and a fumble recovery, Tristian Koronkiewicz had a sack and a fumble recovery and Nathan Warawa and Josh Castillo-Toledo also got to the Broncos’ QB. Hayden Mebs made six tackles and Nigel Henry and Jaxxen Wylie made five tackles each.

The victory marked a milestone, as the Raiders’ Matthew (Snoop) Blokker became the winningest coach in B.C. Football Conference history with his 84th regular-season victory.

GRID BITS … Look for more on Blokker’s coaching record in the next issue of the News Bulletin … The Raiders now have a bye week and play their next game Sept. 7 when they host the Okanagan Sun at 2 p.m. at Caledonia Park.