This is Part 2 of the News Bulletin’s preview of the V.I. Raiders’ home opener. For Part 1, please click here.
A football rematch has a certain dynamic, and the V.I. Raiders and the Okanagan Sun know that as they prepare to meet this Saturday (Aug. 16) at Caledonia Park.
The Sun beat the Raiders 38-0 a week ago at Kelowna’s Apple Bowl. So the Sun just played the Raiders, the Raiders just played the Sun, and both teams have the same advantages and disadvantages that come with that familiarity.
“They’re not going to hide anything back-to-back; we know what they’re going to run; we’re not going to hide anything either,” said Daniel Dubinski, V.I. defensive back. “We’ve just got to shore up on our own plays and crisp up.”
Brian Ridgeway, Raiders coach, said his players will respond after a tough loss last week.
“They weren’t happy with the outcome and the answers are glaring when you watch the film, so I’m sure they’ll correct it,” he said.
The coach said his team needs to improve its tackling, blocking, catching and kicking.
Okanagan was able to amass 257 rush yards against Nanaimo last game and the Raiders will be intent on limiting that facet of Okie’s offence.
“We’ve got to get better on our tackling…” Dubinski said. “They’ve got a good running back, they’ve got a good O line so we’ve got to shut down their running back and we should have a heck of a game.”
Nate Berg, V.I. tailback, said it’s natural for a team to compare its run game with the opponent’s.
“Running the ball’s kind of like a bowling match. It’s forcing your will upon them. It sends a message,” he said. “So we’ve really got to get that part of our game going.”
The Raiders feel like they’re a much better team than last week’s score showed, and will be playing to win in their home opener.
“This is a big game,” Berg said. “It’s not necessarily a must-win, but I think to us it is.”
GAME ON … The V.I. Raiders and Okanagan Sun kick off Saturday (Aug. 16) at 4 p.m. at Caledonia Park on Wall Street. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and free to children five and under. Tickets are available in advance at Palladian Developments on Turner Road and can also be purchased at the gate … Fans are encouraged to show up early and tailgate in the Bowen Park parking lot.
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) August 14, 2014