V.I. Raiders receiver Dustin Rodriguez gains yards after a catch during Sunday’s game against the Okanagan Sun at Kelowna’s Apple Bowl stadium. The home team won 28-7.

V.I. Raiders receiver Dustin Rodriguez gains yards after a catch during Sunday’s game against the Okanagan Sun at Kelowna’s Apple Bowl stadium. The home team won 28-7.

Raiders sacked by Sun

Nanaimo's V.I. Raiders fell 28-7 to the Okanagan Sun in B.C. Football Conference play on Sunday at Kelowna’s Apple Bowl stadium.

The V.I. Raiders were beaten in the backfield by the Okanagan Sun.

The Raiders fell 28-7 to the Sun in B.C. Football Conference play on Sunday at Kelowna’s Apple Bowl stadium.

The Sun recorded a BCFC record 13 sacks in the game and limited the Raiders to just 80 yards of total offence, but despite that, the contest was close much of the way, 14-7 at one point in the third quarter.

“We played them tough, the guys battled hard,” said Jerome Erdman, Raiders coach. “A couple things went off the rails for a little bit, but hey, Okanagan’s a great football team, they’ve got great athletes, they’re very well coached. Right now they’re better than us.”

Erdman said Okie’s front seven outmuscled V.I. to create pressure.

“We’re lacking a little bit of a consistency on offensive line, we’ve had a couple injuries, not that it’s an excuse…” the coach said. “And it wasn’t always the offensive line. A few times, [V.I. quarterback Liam O’Brien] is keeping the ball a little longer than he should.”

O’Brien scored his team’s only touchdown on a rushing play in the third quarter.He finished 9-for-21 passing for 115 yards with two interceptions.

His top target was Dustin Rodriguez, with 54 receiving yards. Taylor Flavel was V.I.’s top rusher with 24 yards on five carries.

Defensively, linebacker Dexter Shea had a big game with eight tackles and a 37-yard fumble recovery. Cole Virtanen had five tackles and an interception and Josh Paisley also had five tackles. Nigel Henry and Quinton Bowles had sacks.

“Defensively, we stuck to our game plan which was to stop [the Sun] from the big plays,” Erdman said. “They’re very explosive, and we didn’t give up any big, huge plays.”

GAME ON … The Raiders play their final regular-season home game this Saturday (Sept. 19) when they host the Westshore Rebels at Caledonia Park. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. and tickets will be available at the gate.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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