The Raiders gave up a lead and lost their season opener.
The V.I. Raiders were edged 33-31 by the Chilliwack Huskers on Sunday in the Fraser Valley as the B.C. Football Conference season got underway.
Nanaimo led 24-3 at halftime, but the Chilliwack had the upper hand late and outscored V.I. by a 21-0 margin in the fourth quarter.
“At the end of the day, we gave up 30 unanswered points in a quarter and a half of football which is unacceptable and that’s uncharacteristic of this football team,” said Doug Hocking, V.I. coach.
He noted that the Huskers ran 83 offensive plays compared to 45 for the Raiders, and said that was a factor on a long, hot day.
“We need to do a better job running the ball, controlling the clock, controlling the pace of the game,” he said.
Hocking mentioneds several trouble areas, including aspects of the passing game, play selection, missed tackles and pass coverage.
The coach said the team has a “24-hour rule” in looking back at this week’s game before it moves on to the next game.
“We’re going to deal with this over the next 24 hours. I’ll meet with the guys tonight, we’ll deal with it tomorrow, we’ll correct our mistakes and we’ll put it behind us and flush it,” Hocking said. “This does not define our football season. It’s a 10-game season.”
The Raiders’ offence was led by tailback Rhett Williams, who gained 112 yards on 13 carries and scored two touchdowns. Fullback Jason Henderson also had a rushing TD.
Quarterback Jake Laberge was 7-for-21 passing for 110 yards with one TD and two interceptions. He connected with D’Shon Dingwell for the Raiders’ lone passing major.
V.I.’s other points came on a 32-yard field goal from Jacob Normore.
Defensively for the Raiders, Garrett Beardy had eight tackles and Matt Cox had six. Isaiah Johns, Riley Caljouw and Ethan Moran had interceptions.
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For the Huskers, Anthony Dyck had three receiving touchdowns and Nathan Stokes had one as Valley QB Julian Wyntinck went 25-for-39 for 310 yards with four TDs and three INTs.
Daniel Mills led Valley’s defence with two sacks and Desmond Jeanson and Jordan Ferry intercepted passes.
GAME ON … The Raiders and the Kamloops Broncos play Saturday, Aug. 11, at 2:30 p.m. at Caledonia Park.