Receiver Josh Tipton signs on with the Vancouver Island Raiders and is welcomed by coach Doug Hocking and teammates at the CJFL club’s signing day party Thursday at Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Raiders reinforce roster on signing day

Thursday was junior football signing day and Nanaimo’s V.I. Raiders added a lot of high-level talent

The V.I. Raiders can start game-planning now that they know what players they’ve got on the roster.

Thursday was junior football signing day and the Raiders added a lot of high-level talent. The team had a signing party at Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln auto dealership, while other out-of-town players signed their papers in places across the country.

“Today’s an exciting day for everybody and an exciting day for everybody in the BCFC and the CJFL,” said Doug Hocking, Raiders coach.

He was asked whether the team needed to ‘win’ signing day, as other B.C. Football Conference rivals were also bolstering their rosters on Thursday.

“We focus on our plan and our program. We put a plan together in January of who we wanted to recruit and the type of players we wanted to recruit for this football team,” Hocking said. “So on a day like today, anything that goes on with another program … none of that concerns us until we have to play those teams.”

The Raiders, in any case, say they’ve signed all the guys they were hoping to get. Two of the team’s most high-profile additions are receiver Josh Tipton, a receiver from Victoria who had been playing CIS football, and Cody Upton, an offensive lineman who has won national championships with the Saskatoon Hilltops.

The Raiders are also high on Norbert Kipala, a linebacker from Toronto; Ethan Moran, a defensive back from Saskatoon; Dillan Neufeld, a defensive lineman from Neepawa, Man.; and Zander Bailey, a running back from Coquitlam.

Local Nanaimo additions include defensive back Shawn Arabsky and quarterback Cole McGarvey.

Returning to the team is Jamie Ybarra, a former Raiders starting quarterback who has since played junior college football in California and junior football in Winnipeg. He talked to Hocking in the off-season and there was agreement that Ybarra would be able to help out the team, both in a leadership capacity and also to complement and challenge starter Jake Laberge.

“I’m ready to compete every week and kind of push the other players around us to get better every day,” Ybarra said.

He thinks the Raiders have potential to win in 2017.

“I think it’s going to be a really good year, to tell you the truth, just [with] the kind of culture and the family aspect that they have going on right here,” Ybarra said. “And we definitely have the talent by far, too, to definitely be a national contender.”

Just Posted

Community marches in support of Nanaimo women and all women

Nanaimo Women March On event was Saturday, Jan. 20

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

Man receives four-year sentence for stabbing Good Samaritan near Qualicum Beach

Jeffrey Brian MacDonald sentenced to additional 242 days in jail

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

Tilray to become medical marijuana supplier to Shoppers Drug Mart

Deal contingent on Shoppers Drug Mart receiving Health Canada approval

Nanaimo robbery re-enacted to help solve crime

Actors volunteer to re-enact crime in hopes of generating clues that could help catch suspect

Woman in Nanaimo buys $70 worth of ice cream with allegedly stolen debit card

Purchase said to have occurred on Jan. 11 at 2 a.m. at Nicol General Store

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

City council gives go-ahead for new affordable seniors’ housing

57-unit, four-storey building to be constructed at 20 Prideaux St. in Nanaimo

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart service strike delayed

LRB application by contractor means new strike notice must be issued by union

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Most Read