The V.I. Raiders romped past the Westshore Rebels on their way to the playoffs.
Nanaimo’s Canadian Junior Football League team won 71-0 on Saturday afternoon at Caledonia Park to conclude the regular season and clinch first place in the B.C. Football Conference.
Saturday’s outcome was never in doubt, as the Raiders scored four touchdowns in the first 10 minutes and hardly slowed their pace after that.
“You can tell whether our team’s intense or not by our execution and I just thought we executed in all three phases pretty good and we just kept rolling,” said Matthew (Snoop) Blokker, Raiders coach. “When the whistle blows, we’re playing a certain type of football no matter what.”
Jaeden Marwick got the start at quarterback and threw for three touchdowns and one interception. In the first half, Whitman Tomusiak had two TD receptions including a 33-yard catch and Alex Thompson had a 15-yard TD catch.
“All the receivers and all the O line were pretty in synch today,” said the QB.
Also in the first half, Michael Ritchott ran for a 16-yard major and Marwick and Ashton Galloway also ran for touchdowns. V.I. scored two punt-return touchdowns, as Dustin Rodriguez ran 90 yards to the end zone and Tomusiak had a 50-yard run back.
In the second half, Owen Redlick caught a 14-yard TD pass from Jahmari Bennett, Galloway scored another rushing TD and Ryan Jones closed out the scoring with a short field goal.
The Rebels only really threatened once, getting the ball to the Raiders’ 10-yard line in the third quarter, but V.I.’s D came up with back-to-back sacks and held the fort.
“[The shutout] meant a lot because we haven’t gotten one all year and I feel like we’re one of the top defences that there is,” said Tristian Koronkiewicz, Raiders D lineman. “It was really big for us to shut them down in our red zone to keep the shutout. It kept the boys intense.”
The team injected enthusiasm in other ways, too, such as handing off the ball to veteran offensive lineman Tyler Oldendorf on a guard-around play that resulted in a first down.
“I just grabbed it, my eyes got tunnel vision and I think I held my breath for the whole play,” Oldendorf said.
He said the blowout win was still effective in helping the Raiders become a better football team.
“Today we proved that we’re going to come out and get ready for the playoffs and we’re going to come out and kick some butt,” he said.
Nigel Henry, Ariel Fabbro, Andrew Rowe, Fabian Ross, Jaxxen Wylie and Daniel Dubinski had interceptions and Koronkiewicz, Dylan Chapdelaine and Josh Castillo-Toledo had sacks.
For the Rebels, Braeden Swatez, who is from Nanaimo, had an interception and Mike Barry had a sack.
GRID BITS … This article will be updated with more statistics when they become available. The Raiders will host a BCFC semifinal game next Saturday (Oct. 12) at Caledonia Park, probably against the Kamloops Broncos at 1 p.m.