V.I. Raiders receiver Dustin Rodriguez is tackled by Langley Rams opponents during a playoff game last fall at Caledonia Park. The teams play there again this Saturday (Aug. 20).

V.I. Raiders receiver Dustin Rodriguez is tackled by Langley Rams opponents during a playoff game last fall at Caledonia Park. The teams play there again this Saturday (Aug. 20).

Raiders will collide with Rams

NANAIMO – The V.I. Raiders junior football team takes on the Langley Rams on Saturday (Aug. 20) at Caledonia Park.

The Raiders are ready for their hardest home game yet.

The V.I. Raiders junior football team takes on the Langley Rams on Saturday (Aug. 20) at Caledonia Park.

Nanaimo’s B.C. Football Conference squad has had up-and-down results to this stage of the season, winning its home games and losing on the road. So they’ll be glad to be back at Caledonia on Saturday.

“It’s great we’ll have them at home in front of our home crowd, and our guys have played pretty well at home,” said Jerome Erdman, V.I. coach. “We’re looking forward to a good football game. It’ll definitely be a challenge for us, but one that we’ve got to win.”

Notably, the Raiders will be without No. 1 quarterback Jake Laberge, who suffered a lower-body injury in last Saturday’s game and will miss this week’s game and be day-to-day after that. Kevin Chopek will get the start under centre against the Rams.

As for Langley’s offence, Erdman pointed out that the Rams have been a high-scoring team of late with some talented players who the Raiders will have to keep in check.

Cole Virtanen, Raiders safety, said his team has gotten better with its man coverage as the season has gone along, and said the defence as a whole is playing better as a unit.

“We’ve started to click and jam together. We’ve played with each other for long enough that we’re able to expect a performance from each player and we know what we’re all capable of and now we’re able to start making plays and being able to shut down offences,” he said.

For the Raiders to find the consistency they want, Virtanen said it comes down to playing confident football, both as individuals and as a team.

“We’ve got some playmakers here and we can definitely win a lot with this team. We just need to be confident in ourselves and know what we’re able to do and go for it.”

GAME ON … The Raiders and Rams kick off Saturday at 2 p.m. at Caledonia Park. Tickets will be available at the gate.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com