Langley Rams players Saeed Hussain Ali

Langley Rams players Saeed Hussain Ali

Raiders get past Rams to grab second place

Nanaimo's V.I. Raiders were able to go and get a big win on the weekend, defeating the Langley Rams on the mainland, 24-18.

The V.I. Raiders were able to go and get a big win on the weekend, defeating the Langley Rams 24-18.

The Raiders came back from a 10-0 deficit to win Saturday’s B.C. Football Conference matchup at McLeod Stadium and sweep the season series against the Rams.

“We went in there, enemy territory, and we got behind, but we never panicked and every facet of our game, I thought, played pretty well,” said Jerome Erdman, V.I. coach. “We stuck up for one another; we battled… For such a young group, I’m really, really impressed with how they don’t panic and how they keep sticking together.”

The Raiders were opportunistic, connecting on long passes when they needed them. Nanaimo’s Arthur Fabbro had a 42-yard touchdown catch in the first half and quarterback Liam O’Brien scored two rushing TDs in the second half.

V.I.’s defence bent but didn’t break and made the lead stand up.

“We played a very, very good football team. Langley is good and we went into their place and we took one from them,” Erdman said. “So it gives us some confidence to know that we can play well against the good teams.”

The game’s stakes were high, as the Raiders (7-3) are now assured a second-place finish in the BCFC.

“Our whole organization is just super excited to get a home playoff game,” the coach said. “It’s the first step in our ultimate goal of winning a Canadian championship.”

O’Brien finished 9-for-15 for 255 yards with one TD, one INT and 57 rushing yards. Fabbro had 124 receiving yards and Dustin Rodriguez had 119. Matias Bueno kicked a 29-yard field goal.

Defensively, Cole Virtanen and Alex Eberling had interceptions and Dexter Shea, Nigel Henry, Max Baldam and Adam McDonald each had five solo tackles.

GAME ON … The Raiders close out the regular season with a game Saturday (Oct. 3) in Chilliwack against the winless Valley Huskers.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com