The V.I. Raiders weren’t able to extend their playoff life.
Nanaimo’s B.C. Football Conference team lost 37-26 to the Langley Rams on Saturday at McLeod Athletic Park.
The Raiders led by two points at halftime and had a chance at a game-tying drive when they trailed by one score late in the fourth quarter, but they couldn’t make the sort of play they needed at that stage.
“We played hard all day long,” said Doug Hocking, Raiders coach. “I couldn’t be more proud of my guys. My coaches, my players all did an outstanding job all week long preparing. But we just needed to make one or two more plays out there and we would have come home [Saturday] night with a win.”
He said the Raiders’ defence kept giving the offence opportunities and made a huge third-down stop in the fourth quarter at a crucial time to keep V.I. in the football game.
Hocking said the Rams made some adjustments at halftime that worked for them.
“And we kind of went back and forth. It was a chess game,” Hocking said.
V.I. quarterback Jake Laberge ran in a touchdown and threw TD passes to North Rainey and Jared Braun. Eli Nelms-Horton kicked a field goal.
Laberge finished 14-for-34 passing for 178 yards, two TDs and one INT. Rhett Williams had 22 carries for 103 yards. Rainey made six catches for 63 yards.
On defence, Doyle Sosnowski had a big game with a sack and two fumble recoveries. Brody Taylor also had a sack. Shawn Arabsky and Ethan Moran each made five tackles.
Hocking said the team fell short of its goals this season.
“Since the first year of this football program, this team has not missed the playoffs. We’ll take a lot of pride in that success. But what our goal is every year is winning championships, not just making it to the playoffs,” he said.
The coach said after exit interviews with players, he’ll sit down with management and continue to look ahead to next season.
“We can’t sit around and feel sad for ourselves because we just got eliminated on a Saturday afternoon,” he said. “We’ve got to get back to work Sunday morning. That’s our approach to it. That’ll continue to be the way we do things here.”