V.I. Raiders players Dillan Neufeld and Matt Hill tackle a Westshore Rebels opponent during Saturday’s BCFC game at Caledonia Park. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Raiders beat Rebels again in Island football rivalry

NANAIMO – V.I. wins 32-17 against Westshore in B.C. Football Conference play at Caledonia Park

The Raiders beat the Rebels again to sweep this season’s rivalry on the rock.

The V.I. Raiders defeated the Westshore Rebels 32-17 on Saturday afternoon in B.C. Football Conference play at Caledonia Park.

Nanaimo took advantage of a fast start, building a 23-0 lead after the first quarter, and maintained control the rest of the way. It was the second straight matchup and victory against Victoria in league play.

“A lot of things we had issues with in Westshore, we cleaned up over the last two weeks and I thought the guys came out with a clear understanding of what we wanted to do today and they executed outstanding,” said Doug Hocking, V.I. coach.

He added that the Raiders played well in all three phases of the game.

“Playing Victoria, it’s a tough game every time, but we just wanted to play our best,” said Gevhahn McNally-Hardisty, Raiders defensive back. “Coming out with the ‘W’s is huge for us.”

On the Rebels’ first drive, they completed a pass overtop of McNally-Hardisty, but he was able to chase down the receiver and punch the ball out for a touchdown-saving play. The Raiders went down to the other end of the field and scored.

“I just had to make up for a play that I got beat on, but I made up for it, momentum swung to our side, and that’s good,” McNally-Hardisty said.

Rhett Williams got the Raiders on the scoreboard with a one-yard touchdown run, and V.I. poured it on as Mike West scored on a 50-yard TD reception, dragging tacklers with him, and then Eli Nelms-Horton scored on a 57-yard TD catch down the far sideline.

Williams scored on a two-yard TD run to start the third quarter and give his team a 32-3 lead. The Rebels got both their major scores late, with Ashton McKinnon scoring on a 17-yard TD run and Mason Brown scoring a rushing TD with no time left on the clock.

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Raiders quarterback Jake Laberge finished 13-for-28 passing for 284 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Williams had 136 rushing yards and West had 113 yards on six catches.

On defence, McNally-Hardisty had two interceptions, Isaiah Johns had one and Jérémie Cheng had a fumble recovery. Doyle Sosnowski had two sacks, Connor Kyliuk had one and a half and Brody Taylor also had a sack.

McNally-Hardisty said the Raiders are trying to play a complete 60-minute game and are getting closer to that.

“I still feel like we have work to do, but we’re getting better and better and that’s all we can ask for,” he said. “We just want to get better each week.”

GAME ON … The Raiders visit the Okanagan Sun on Saturday, Sept. 15. Nanaimo doesn’t have another home game until Sept. 29, when the Sun are at Caledonia Park for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.


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