To view a slideshow of photos from the B.C. final, please click here.
The Raiders regained the championship in a barnburner of a B.C. final.
The Vancouver Island Raiders outscored the Langley Rams 48-37 to win the B.C. Football Conference final on Saturday afternoon at Caledonia Park.
“It’s the greatest feeling,” said Dylan Chapdelaine, V.I. linebacker. “Especially last year, us losing, and now it’s back with us, it’s back with the rightful owners.”
The Raiders scored a field goal on the game’s opening drive and never trailed. The Rams twice closed the deficit to nine points in the second half, but couldn’t get any closer.
“We buckled down, our offence kept putting up points and we just held them,” said Ariel Fabbro, Raiders defensive back.
Raiders quarterback Jaeden Marwick was chosen the offensive player of the game as he was 13-for-19 for 196 yards with three touchdown passes and one interception. Chapdelaine, who had two interceptions and 10 solo tackles, was defensive player of the game and Whitman Tomusiak was selected the special teams player of the game.
“It’s a team sport and I thought we played as a team,” said Matthew (Snoop) Blokker, coach of the Raiders.
He said his team dominated the line of scrimmage and had success with different facets of the game, spreading out the Rams’ defence.
“We followed our game plan by our coaches, ran the ball efficiently on first down and then we were successful through the air,” Marwick said.
Chapdelaine said his team’s defence just tried to play its game against the Rams’ playmakers.
“Langley tried to bring it with the run game at first and we started shutting it down so they had to go to the pass game,” he said. “They scored a couple on us but our offence gave us some points.”
Ryan Jones opened the scoring with a 10-yard field goal, and then a Chapdelaine pick led to a seven-yard TD pass to Dylan Schrot, who made the catch in double coverage at the back of the endzone. Langley’s Steve Thomas kicked a 43-yard field goal late in first quarter.
Thomas hit a 38-yarder early in the second, but the Raiders replied as Alex Thompson caught a tipped ball in the endzone for a touchdown. The Raiders scored again three minutes later on a trick play, as Schrot took a lateral pass and threw a 15-yard TD reception to Dustin Rodriguez. The Raiders conceded a safety late in the quarter to make the score 24-8 at halftime.
Alex Kutra scored a 10-yard rushing TD early in the second half, then the visitors got some momentum as Kyle Albertini scored a one-yard rushing TD and Dan English caught a 21-yard passing TD. Tomusiak returned the ensuing kickoff into Langley territory, though, and Kutra caught a 16-yard TD.
Rams quarterback Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren got free for a 29-yard touchdown run to start the fourth quarter but Jones hit a 19-yard field goal and then Fabbro scored on a 72-yard pick six to basically remove all doubt. Jacob Carvery caught a 30-yard TD pass late, with Jordan Traversy adding a two-point convert.
Micheal Ritchott was V.I.’s top rusher with seven carries for 88 yards.
Gilbert-Knorren’s numbers were 30-for-49 for 413 yards. His 30 completions and 49 attempts were both records for a B.C. final. He also had a game-high 90 rushing yards. Kyle Piche made six catches for 169 yards and English set a new BCFC playoff record with 11 catches for 111.
Defensively for the Raiders, Cole Samson had his team’s other interception as well as seven tackles. Brendan Lattimer had a fumble recovery and Ash Gayat had a sack and six tackles.
For the Rams, Ryan Reid had six tackles and an INT and Evan Foster, Nathan Shepherd, Steve Martinez and Joe Patko had sacks.
Ashton Galloway, Raiders running back, said he saw 100 per cent effort from his team in the win. He said the Raiders drew motivation from last year’s loss to the Rams in the B.C. final.
“We definitely had that in mind going into this game,” he said. “We all thought about how we lost that game last year. We definitely had some revenge [in mind] going into this game. We all just fought, scored points, won the game.”
GAME ON … The V.I. Raiders advance to play the Windsor AKO Fratmen in the Jostens Cup national semifinal. That game will be played Saturday (Oct. 26) in Windsor, Ont.