Raiders expect challenge in home opener

The V.I. Raiders take on the Langley Rams this Saturday (Aug. 11) in Nanaimo’s home opener at Caledonia Park.

The V.I. Raiders only have one game under their belts this season, but that will have to be enough to prepare them. Because now the toughest opponent in the league awaits.

The Raiders take on the Langley Rams this Saturday (Aug. 11) in Nanaimo’s home opener at Caledonia Park.

Both teams kicked off the 2012 Canadian Junior Football League season with a win last weekend. The Raiders handled the Westshore Rebels 44-14, while the Rams pulled off something of an upset in a 42-14 road win against the Okanagan Sun.

“It’s going to be a pretty tight game, least mistakes wins,” said Dustin Pedersen, V.I. receiver, at practice earlier this week. “So we’ve got a lot of work to do to prepare for them.”

The Rams’ defence forced an eye-popping 10 turnovers in the win against the Sun, so the Raiders’ offence will have to take care of the ball. V.I.’s offence looked dangerous against Victoria, but now it will face a higher degree of difficulty.

“There’s little stuff we’ve got to work on to sharpen up and make sure our offence is on point, and then we’ll be good from there,” said Ashton Galloway, Raiders tailback. “Just certain reads, reading the defence properly, making sure we all know our plays and just executing every single play to the best we can.”

Galloway said the team has been looking forward to its first game of 2012 at Caledonia Park, and has been trying to  rally fan support at various community events during the off-season.

The league’s top two teams right now could put on a good show.

“They’re going to be a good challenge this year,” Galloway sais. “We’re just going to keep working in practice, get a lot of film on them, see what they’re doing and really prepare this week for them. And we’ll have a good game on Saturday.”

GAME ON … The Raiders and Rams kick off at 5 p.m. at Caledonia Park. Tickets will be available at the gate.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com