All the V.I. Raiders did was score points and win.
Saturday’s 75-0 win against the Chilliwack Huskers at Caledonia Park was a bit of a strange one.
The Raiders didn’t really air out the ball like they usually do, and they didn’t really pound the ball along the ground, either, at least not in the traditional sense of the term. In fact, there weren’t that many offensive plays in the game.
“We actually wanted to run the ball a little bit more than what we did,” said Matthew “Snoop” Blokker, Raiders coach. “But what happened is every time we ran it, we scored, almost.”
Seven different Raiders ran the ball, gaining 356 yards and five touchdowns on only 18 carries – an average of 19.8 yards per carry.
“We love to run the ball. As a lineman, running the ball’s best, especially when we get to colder weather,” said offensive tackle Steve Pennell. “We think we can run the ball and it’s something on our team that we haven’t done a lot of.”
Starting tailback Jordan Botel scored the game’s first touchdown and fullback Ashton Galloway scored two TDs including a 55-yard major. Alex Jobson rushed for 120 yards on seven carries including a 57-yard TD run.
The pass game may not have been as much of a factor as usual, but there were definitely highlights. Jordan Yantz, coming off an injury that kept him off the practice field most of last week, threw for 141 yards – enough to move him to the top of the B.C. Football Conference’s career passing yards list with 7,004.
“We didn’t put a whole lot on his plate,” Blokker said. “We were hoping to get his hundred and something yards for him and he went out and did it and that was great.”
Yantz’s touchdown passes to Andrew Smith and Whitman Tomusiak also put him into a tie for the most career passing TDs in the Canadian Junior Football League, with 81.
Also notable was the performance by another Raiders QB. With backup quarterback Kurtis Bardua out with injury, Dustin Pedersen played the whole fourth quarter. First he and Taylor Flavel pulled off a nifty lateral run play that Flavel turned into a 41-yard TD. Then Pedersen threw his first touchdown, a 20 yarder to Marshall Cook.
Pedersen was also the game’s leading receiver with four catches for 78 yards.
“You might see him, not just in fourth quarters anymore, but mixed in the game plan here and there,” Blokker said.
Other touchdowns were scored by Flavel, on a 60-yard punt return, and Andrew DeLeon on a 41-yard run.
One of the most impressive stats for the Raiders came on the other side of the ball – the zero points given up by the defence. Linebacker Dylan Chapdelaine said the D is always striving for a shutout.
“The focus was for us to better ourselves from last time we played [the Huskers],” he said. “Last time we played them we came out slow and then we had to make some adjustments. This time we did a lot better, clearly.”
Chapedlaine, Cody Biduke and Brandon Larocque had interceptions and Spencer Riche recovered a fumble. Evan Foster had two sacks and Glenn Boyce, Teddy Ash, Casey Neal and Ash Gayat also had sacks. Jonathon Jones, Biduke and Ash each made four tackles.
The coach said the game was a success because the Raiders picked up the win, executed plays, saw good things from backups and avoided major injuries.
“Sometimes they’re tough games to play in,” said Blokker. “But I was really, really happy with our composure, I was really happy with the fact that momentum never changed one bit.”
GAME ON … The next action for the V.I. Raiders (8-0) is Saturday (Oct. 1) when the team hosts the Langley Rams (4-4) at 2 p.m. at Caledonia Park … The regular season will then conclude with an Oct. 9 game in Kelowna against the Okanagan Sun …The Raiders have now scored 460 points this season, fifth most in BCFC history. They are on pace to break their own record of 505 points, set in 2009 … The next touchdown pass by quarterback Jordan Yantz will be the 82nd of his career, breaking a CJFL record that Saskatoon Hilltops great Tony Gagnon set in 1985.