Raiders get rematch with first-place Sun

NANAIMO – The V.I. Raiders, back from a bye week, host the Okanagan Sun this Saturday (Sept. 7).

The V.I. Raiders feel like they’ve got a fresh start and a chance to match up with the league’s best teams.

The Raiders, back from a bye week, host the Okanagan Sun this Saturday (Sept. 7).

The rivals met back in Week 2, a 17-3 Sun win that had the Raiders “disgusted” with themselves, said coach Matthew (Snoop) Blokker.

“It’s the here and the now. What happened in Week 2, we’re a different club completely; they’re a different club,” he said.

In that game, the Raiders’ offence couldn’t stay on the field and put too much onus on their defence. There were also some problems with protecting the kicker on special teams.

“If we limit those mistakes, then I think it’s going to be a closer game and a better battle,” Blokker said.

Hayden Mebs, Raiders defensive back, said the Sun’s passing offence will be a big test for the Raiders D.

“We need to be physical, get off the ball and we just need to make more plays,” he said. “We’re there, we’re in the right spots, we just need to make the plays now. No more excuses.”

Ashton Galloway, Raiders fullback, said his team is excited about the challenge of taking on the first-placed Sun.

“Obviously they have some kind of bragging rights, but we’re going to go out and we’re going to take that from them. That’s our goal,” he said. “Our goal is to compete every single play and our goal is to win.”

Galloway said the Raiders intend to take advantage of playing at Caledonia Park this weekend.

“We play way better at home; our focus is a lot better,” he said. “So we’re going to play a better, sharper game this week.”

The intensity should be as high as it gets for a mid-season matchup – these are the kinds of rivalry games that teams love to win and hate to lose.

“Big games like this, it’s always about pride,” said Blokker. “We want to make sure that we even the score up.”

GRID BITS … To read the Kelowna Capital News’ preview of the game, please click here … The Raiders and Sun kick off Saturday at 2 p.m. at Caledonia Park. Tickets will be available at the gate.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com