Raiders get ready

Raiders get ready

The V.I. Raiders junior football team stayed in Nanaimo and trained at its home field at Caledonia Park.

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Main camp serves a lot of different purposes – a football team needs to toughen up, band together, get better, and determine its depth chart.

The V.I. Raiders think they accomplished those goals, but the primary target, said coach Jerome Erdman, is the season opener in two weeks’ time.

“We’re getting them ready for a game,” he said. “Spring [camp] is more or less to see who’s going to make it to this stage … Now, everything we do, we’re getting prepared to play Langley the first game of the season.”

Main camp was a very different format this year. In the past, the Raiders have always held it out of town, at Port Alberni, Duncan or Campbell River, and put guys through the paces over several gruelling days in the heat.

This year, the team stayed in Nanaimo and trained at their home field at Caledonia Park. Camp was shorter and streamlined. Guys got chances to play physical, but the priority was to be productive.

“The players are working hard, the coaches are working hard, everybody seems to have bought in and things are going well,” Erdman said. “Considering it’s a whole new system for them, they’ve adapted very quickly and I’m well pleased with what’s going on.”

There are a few roster moves to be made – some Raiders players will report late and there will be a couple of cuts here and there, but coaches are beginning to envision the team and where guys fit in.

“There’s competition at every position. If you don’t have competition at every position, it’s not a good state to be in for a football team,” Erdman said. “That’s our mantra for this year … Everything we do, we’ve got to compete and it’s the same for positions on this football team.”

The Raiders now move to nightly practices at Comox Field as they get ready for the B.C. Football Conference season. They think they can be in the thick of things this year.

“We won’t really know that until we have a good look at the other teams. Right now it’s a bit of a mystery…” said Erdman. “But I feel good with what we have.”

GAME ON … For V.I. Raiders season ticket information, please visit

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