V.I. Raiders linebacker Taylor Saine tries to tackle Valley Huskers ball carrier Daniel Mills during Saturday's B.C. Football Conference game at Caledonia Park. The Raiders won 81-6.

V.I. Raiders linebacker Taylor Saine tries to tackle Valley Huskers ball carrier Daniel Mills during Saturday's B.C. Football Conference game at Caledonia Park. The Raiders won 81-6.

Raiders hammer Huskers 81-6

NANAIMO – The V.I. Raiders stayed on the upswing with a massive 81-6 win over the Valley Huskers on the weekend.

The V.I. Raiders stayed on the upswing with a massive 81-6 win over the Valley Huskers on the weekend.

The Raiders were dominant from start to finish against the B.C. Football Conference’s last-placed Huskers on Saturday at Caledonia Park, building a 74-6 lead before the clock went to run time in the fourth quarter.

“We just kept at it the whole game,” said Dexter Shea, V.I. linebacker. “No matter if it was subs, or what quarter it was, first play, last play, every play in between, we just kept getting after it with high tempo, high energy.”

Brian Ridgeway, V.I. coach, said his team played “continuity football,” staying sound and sharp all the way through. The Raiders had talked about focus playing the Huskers, and Ridgeway said his players paid attention, as the veterans and younger players all performed.

“Not coming out slow or playing down to anybody else’s level was a big thing, and just playing our game,” said Marshall Cook, V.I. receiver.

Micheal Ritchott had his second-straight three-touchdown game for the Raiders. Playing running back, he scored on a 13-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, caught an 80-yard TD pass in the third and added a 46-yard TD run in the fourth.

The Raiders had seven passing touchdowns on the day. Starting quarterback Liam O’Brien threw a 43-yard TD to Alex Kutra to start the game and Cook freelanced his way to a 27-yard TD reception midway through the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Arthur Fabbro got wide open for a 35-yard TD pass, then Taylor Flavel made a catch in double coverage and broke free for a 60-yard TD. O’Brien ran in a nine-yard TD himself to end the first half.

Backup QB Kurt Parsons came in to start the second half and threw a 43-yard touchdown to Cook on a perfectly timed route. Parsons also connected with Ryan Chickite for a six-yard TD pass, and then with Ritchott late in the quarter.

Ritchott finished with 156 rushing yards on 10 carries. O’Brien was 11-for-16 for 264 yards and Parsons was a perfect 9-for-9 for 152.

V.I.’s other major was a defensive touchdown late in the first quarter, when Shea scooped up a fumble and ran in 30 yards to the endzone.

Dylan Chapedelaine forced the turnover on that play and also had a sack and an interception and Fabian Ross, Shea and Linden Klein also had INTs. Hayden Mebs had a fumble recovery, Nigel Henry had two sacks and Kaelan Botel, Ash Gayat and Mason Kelley also got to the Huskers’ quarterback.

Valley’s only score came in the second quarter, when Tyron Ledingham made a 15-yard TD catch. Dylan LaPrairie was 10-for-19 passing for 130 yards.

Even in an 81-6 blowout, the Raiders feel they were able to improve as a team.

“Every game you can get better,” Shea said. “When you’re winning by a lot, you can get a lot of different looks at how you want to play the game.”

He said the Raiders are getting better and more confident every week and the coach said each game day has helped his team’s growth.

“They’ve seen it, they’ve played it, they have the feeling inside of them now,” Ridgeway said. “Now they know what it’s about. So we’re starting to roll pretty good.”

GRID BITS … This article will be updated with statistics when they become available … The Raiders play the Okanagan Sun on Saturday (Sept 13) at 2 p.m. at Caledonia Park.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com