To view a slideshow of photos from Saturday’s game, please click here.
The V.I. Raiders and the Chilliwack Huskers both play in the B.C. Football Conference, but really, they’re not in the same league. The Raiders wiped out the Huskers 85-0 on Saturday afternoon at Caledonia Park.
The game might have gotten even more out of hand, but at halftime, with the home team up 70-0, officials decided to implement the BCFC’s run-time mercy rule.
Even though the opposition couldn’t provide much resistance, the Raiders saw some positives in their own game.
“We’re getting really close to becoming that Raiders team that we want to be,” said Matthew (Snoop) Blokker, V.I. coach. “We’re just getting better every week and getting tougher, getting meaner and playing that style of football.”
Blokker said even in blowout games he can look at the line of scrimmage and gauge how his guys are getting off the ball. He was pleased with what he saw there, and also liked his team’s pass protection and the way the Raiders running backs were hitting their holes.
In preparing for the game, the coach asked his players to be concerned with their own execution on the field, and keep mental focus.
“It’s initially hard getting up for it, but the coaches do a good job of keeping us intense and saying we can’t play down to our opponents’ level,” said James Riley, V.I. defensive back. “We can’t play down to their level and show the rest of the league that we’re weak in any facet.”
J.J. Mraovic, new Raiders safety, said all game long, his team played like it wanted to win.
“We did everything we could to put as many points on the board, and be as physical as we possibly could,” he said. “You’ve always got to stay crisp, you’ve always got to do the little things right.”
The only drama on the scoreboard was the question of whether the Raiders would preserve the shutout. In the fourth quarter, the Huskers got into position to try for a 25-yard field goal, but V.I.’s Erling Skuggedal blocked the kick.
“The whole team was fired up … because we wanted that zero,” said Riley. “And there was no way that that kick was going through. Every guy on that defence was getting to that ball; I think there were six guys waiting to block that kick.”
The Raiders built their insurmountable lead by scoring 42 points in the first quarter, including 21 in the first two minutes and 10 seconds. They scored majors on their first seven possessions of the game. The offensive onslaught slowed down after halftime, and Blokker said the BCFC’s mercy rule isn’t supposed to come into effect until the fourth quarter of games.
“We kind of got ripped off on plays and didn’t get our guys enough chance in the second half to play,” he said.
He explained that was why he elected to try for a touchdown – successfully – on the final play of the game rather than ask backup QB Kurtis Bardua to take a knee.
“I wanted reps,” Blokker said. “When you add it all up, in the second half our offence maybe had 12 reps the whole half. And we want those reps, we need those reps.”
The scoring started on the Raiders’ very first play from scrimmage. Andrew Deleon got the start at tailback for the Raiders and scored a 78-yard rushing touchdown, then added a 34-yard rushing TD later in the first quarter.
Jordan Yantz also scored two touchdowns, in noteworthy fashion – he caught a two-yard touchdown pass from Dustin Pedersen, and the Raiders QB also had a rushing touchdown and two TD passes.
Taylor Flavel scored two majors, as well, one on a two-yard run and the other on a 30-yard run. Ashton Galloway added a 26-yard TD run. Pedersen made a 45-yard touchdown catch, Mike Schaper made it look easy on a 13-yard TD catch and Marshall Cook caught a 10-yard TD from Bardua on the last play of the game.
Deleon finished with 140 rushing yards, Tomusiak was the top receiver with 70 yards and Yantz ended 5-for-7 for 136 yards.
The defence contributed two major scores as Shane Stonehouse recovered a fumble for a TD a minute and a half into the game and Ariel Fabbro scored a touchdown on a 24-yard interception return. Glenn Boyce also had an INT, Stonehouse had two forced fumbles and two sacks, Tremaine Apperley had two sacks and Ash Gayat, Cam Rossetto and Brendan Neverson also had sacks. Dylan Chapdelaine had a team-high five tackles.
Net offence was 529-8 in favour of the Raiders.
GRID BITS … V.I.’s Mark Mueller kicked 12 converts, tying a team record from 2007, when Karim Ould-Hamouda made a dozen converts in a 97-0 win over the Kamloops Broncos at Caledonia Park … The Raiders’ 85 points were fourth-most in BCFC history and ninth-most in Canadian Junior Football League history. The Canadian record is 109, set by the Ottawa Sooners in 1969, and the B.C. record is the Raiders’ aforementioned 97 … Nanaimo’s 42 first-quarter points are a new CJFL record. The previous record of 35 was set by the Sooners in 1975. The league doesn’t keep records for points in a half … Seven different Raiders ran the football, gaining 351 yards on 21 carries. That amounts to an average of 16.7 yards per carry, fifth highest in CJFL history … To see photos of Deleon’s long TD run, Yantz’s touchdown celebration, Boyce’s interception, Schaper’s TD grab, plus more, please click here … To read an interview with Mraovic, please click here … Next action for the Raiders is Saturday (Sept. 15) when they travel to Kelowna to face the Okanagan Sun in a 1 p.m. kickoff at the Apple Bowl.