The Raiders roared to a rousing start, then held on for another big win.
Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Raiders junior football team defeated its rivals, the Okanagan Sun, by a 44-28 score on Saturday afternoon at Kelowna’s Apple Bowl.
“From the last time we played them, I felt that we were definitely the more improved football team,” said Matthew (Snoop) Blokker, Raiders coach.
He said his team couldn’t have scripted the opening quarter any better.
An early interception from Raiders linebacker Glenn Boyce led immediately to the opening touchdown, as Raiders QB Jordan Yantz connected with Whitman Tomusiak. The Raiders struck again right away as Dylan Chapdelaine’s forced fumble led to an Andrew Deleon rushing TD. Dustin Pedersen then returned an Okie punt 61 yards to the endzone to make it 21-0, and Mark Mueller hit his first of three field goals on the day to make it 24-0 after one quarter.
In the second quarter, Ashton Galloway extended the lead on a 19-yard rushing TD that saw him put a shoulder into a Sun defensive back.
“Galloway absolutely blasted him,” said Blokker. “He ran right over him and scored a touchdown and it was an awesome run.”
It gave the Raiders a 31-0 lead, but also a false sense of security.
“I think everyone felt we were playing Chilliwack and we fell asleep,” said Blokker.
The Sun scored two touchdowns just before halftime to close the gap, then continued to press in the third quarter, drawing as close as 34-28.
“Instead of turning into a panic show, we got our tempo back up to pace where it needed to be,” Blokker said. “I thought you saw a team that really stuck together and all of a sudden took it to another level … It just turned into a group of guys that decided they weren’t going to lose.”
Another Tomusiak touchdown catch in the fourth quarter basically sealed the win.
Yantz finished the game 14-for-23 for 268 yards, 110 of those yards to Tomusiak. Mike Schaper had five catches for 88 yards. Galloway had 84 rush yards on 15 carries.
Defensively, Ariel Fabbro had an INT, Boyce had seven solo tackles and three assisted tackles to go with his pick and Tremaine Apperley blanketed Sun receiver Bobby Davis, holding the pro prospect to one catch for six yards. Chapdelaine had seven tackles, Cole Bishop had six tackles and a forced fumble and Rockenson Angrand had six tackles and a sack. Percy Jones recovered a fumble.
“Any time you get to beat the Sun in the Apple Bowl, it’s always a good day. It’s one of those trips where we usually take an extra hour before we’re back on the bus to leave, when we win there,” Blokker said. “Let’s just say we soaked up as much sun as we could before we left town.”
GAME ON … The V.I. Raiders (5-0-1) visit the Langley Rams (5-0-1) on Saturday (Sept. 22). Nanaimo’s next home game is Sept. 29, when the Sun (1-5) visit Caledonia Park.