The V.I. Raiders are playoff bound after they outfought the Kamloops Broncos in the desert.
Nanaimo’s 44-15 win on the road Saturday night secured fourth place in the B.C. Football Conference for the Raiders.
“It clears things up going forward,” said Brian Ridgeway, Raiders coach. “Now [players] know we’re playoff bound, there’s not that doubt that this could happen or that could happen. Now it’s totally in our destiny.”
The Raiders made sure of that with their efficient performance against the Broncos on Saturday. V.I. led 17-1 at half time and 45-1 through three quarters before the home team made the score closer.
Micheal Ritchott led the Raiders with 113 rushing yards and fellow back Taylor Flavel had a 75-yard touchdown run and a TD reception. Nate Berg also scored a rushing TD as the team finished with 307 yards on the ground.
“It’s always part of our game plan to try and run the ball,” Ridgeway said. “If we’re having success, we’ll go to it much more often and for a longer period of time.”
Other majors were scored by Arthur Fabbro and Dustin Rodriguez, who caught TD passes. Raiders quarterback Liam O’Brien was 12-for-20 passing for 239 yards, three TDs and an interception.
Nanaimo got a couple of noteworthy performances on defence. Nigel Henry had a sack, a forced fumble, an interception and five solo tackles and Dexter Shea had two interceptions and two sacks. Ash Gayat recovered a fumble, Tyler Harvey had a sack and Daniel Dubinski made six solo tackles.
The game ended with hard feelings, as a brawl forced officials to call the game with a couple minutes still on the clock. Ridgeway said none of his players left the bench to enter the fray, and said the guys on the field tried to get their teammates back to the sideline.
“The fact that it happened at all is kind of a black mark on the whole game and the trip, but … we’re happy with the guys, with the way they handled themselves,” the coach said.
GAME ON … The Raiders host the Westshore Rebels on Saturday (Oct. 4) at 1 p.m. at Caledonia Park. Nanaimo will then have two weeks off before it visits the Okanagan Sun in a semifinal matchup tentatively scheduled for Oct. 19.