The V.I. Raiders’ victories this season had all come down to the wire, but with this one, there was no doubt.
The Raiders shut out the Valley Huskers 53-0 on Saturday at Caledonia Park.
“All our games have been nail biters – this is the first time they’ve actually gone and we’ve put a team away,” said Jerome Erdman, Raiders coach. “It’s good for them. They deserved it. They’ve been working hard and it’s nice to see them get a result like that.”
The coach said his team came closer to putting forth the 60-minute effort it’s seeking.
“The biggest thing playing a team like that, is you just have to play your game,” said Taylor Flavel, Raiders receiver. “You don’t want to play to anyone else’s level.”
Erdman said his team’s defence did what it needed to do, posting a shutout, and said the offence showed well in spurts. Flavel said the Raiders’ offence was effective because it was able to stay on the field.
“We’ve kind of been shooting ourselves in the foot all year [with] two and outs, little stupid penalties that put us on the sidelines,” he said. “[Today we were] completing drives and getting in the endzone and not just using our defence to put us in field position. It’s doing it ourselves, not just our defence bailing us out.”
The Raiders established a huge lead early with three first-quarter touchdown passes from quarterback Liam O’Brien. Arthur Fabbro made a 10-yard TD catch, Flavel caught a 15-yard major and then Flavel again found the endzone on a 41-yard catch-and-run TD.
In the third quarter, Nathan Berg had a 20-yard TD reception and O’Brien ran for a short TD on a QB keeper.
The clock went to run time in the fourth quarter and Dustin Rodriguez scored on a 41-yard TD catch from O’Brien and Dustin Hamm caught a 27-yard TD pass from Brody Taylor.
O’Brien finished 23-of-30 passing for 405 yards, five touchdowns, one interception, and 64 rushing yards. Rodriguez had six catches for 177 yards and Flavel had seven catches for 114 yards. Berg carried the ball eight times and amassed 88 yards.
Defensively, Adam McDonald and Cole Virtanen made interceptions and Quinton Bowles and Dexter Shea had sacks.
GAME ON … The Raiders now have a bye week before visiting the Okanagan Sun in Kelowna on Sept. 13.