The league’s most evenly matched teams finally get a chance to try to settle the score.
The V.I. Raiders (5-0-1) and the Langley Rams (5-0-1) face one another this Saturday (Sept. 22) in the Fraser Valley in a game to determine first place in the B.C. Football Conference.
The teams have collided once so far in 2012, a game at Caledonia Park that ended in a 31-31 tie.
Ever since, the Raiders have been in an unfamiliar position – second place in the standings, due to point differential. They’ve been dying for another chance at top spot.
“The challenge is going to be huge for us, but we’re up for it,” said Matthew (Snoop) Blokker, Raiders coach. “If you want to say you want to try to win the national championship, it’s games like this that are going to give you the chance to do it.”
Both the Raiders and the Rams have improved since their last meeting. Blokker noted that the Raiders have brought in new additions to the defence and moved guys into different spots that are perhaps a better fit.
Jordan Yantz, V.I. quarterback, said his team has also improved its rushing offence and can now bring a more balanced attack to face the Rams.
“We’re both going to be higher-calibre teams than we were before, so I’m really excited about it,” Yantz said. “It’s going to be a battle, it’s not just going to be a blowout.”
The Rams have numerous weapons on offence, most notably receivers Nick Downey and Malcolm Williams and running backs Daniel Xavier and Kyle Albertini. Langley’s defence is led by DB Jordan Linnen and former Raiders D lineman Evan Foster.
“And they’re well-coached,” said Blokker. “So if they see you cheating, they’ll come back at you right away in a different way.”
It will take a focused, four-quarter effort to win, said the V.I. coach.
“Our attention to detail is going to be pressed because of the type of game we’re going to be in,” said Blokker. “And also first place is on the line now and when that happens you’ve got to be wanting and willing to play every play.”
GAME ON … The Raiders and Rams kick off at 4 p.m. Saturday at McLeod Stadium. There will be a live webcast at www.viraiders.ca.