The V.I. Raiders have a simple task in the last game of the regular season: maintain momentum.
Nanaimo’s B.C. Football Conference team achieved a major goal last weekend, defeating the Langley Rams to finish second in the league and earn a home playoff game.
Now they’re getting ready to go play the Valley Huskers in Chilliwack on Saturday (Oct. 3) in the last game of the regular season and although the game is meaningless in the standings, the Raiders don’t want to limp toward the post-season.
“As a staff, we’ve got to be careful and prepare our players, because sometimes there’s a bit of a letdown after a big win like that and you’re playing against a team that’s struggled a little bit,” said Jerome Erdman, coach of the Raiders.
The Huskers are winless, so the last game of the regular season represents their last chance to try to change that.
“They’ve still got some pretty good playmakers,” Erdman said. “So we’ve got to go, business as usual, try and make a statement and try to keep the momentum rolling leading into the playoffs.”
Top prospect could get carries
The Raiders may use Saturday’s game to try out some things for the playoffs. That includes, potentially, adding Coltin Laplante into the offence at the running back position.
The former Ballenas Whalers standout “was a demon” on special teams last week in Langley, said Erdman.
“He had the hit of the game going down on a kickoff, oh, it was outstanding,” the coach said. “He’s a stud and he’s going to be a big, big player for us.”
Laplante said it felt really good to get the pads on and get out on the football field.
He had been working in Alberta during the summer, but always with an eye on returning to the Island and the V.I. Raiders.
“I’ve been working with the running backs pretty much every practice,” he said. “Hopefully next game I’ll get a couple carries. Once you undertand the numbers system of running the ball, it’s pretty much all the same.”
Junior football is a big difference from high school ball, but he’ll keep training and keep trying, he said. He’s got high hopes for the Raiders.
“The team’s looking really strong this year and I think we’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing and hopefully get what we want,” he said.