V.I. Raiders players Elliott Jones

V.I. Raiders players Elliott Jones

Raiders will face surprise opponent

V.I. Raiders will take on Langley Rams in the B.C. Football Conference championship game.

Like a lot of people, the V.I. Raiders plopped down on the couch Sunday and watched football.

Over at Jordan Yantz’s place, the quarterback and a couple of teammates hooked up the computer to the TV to watch the webcast of the B.C. Football Conference semifinals – the Langley Rams versus the Okanagan Sun.

The Raiders were intending to scout the defences of the teams, but got caught up watching a great football game, one that saw the Rams eventually upset the Sun 31-29 to advance to the B.C. final this Saturday (Oct. 22) in Nanaimo.

“It was a really entertaining game to watch,” Yantz said. “It was a little bit of a shock at first, but obviously one team came to play and that’s the moral of the story.”

Matthew “Snoop” Blokker, Raiders coach, was conflicted in who to root for. He found himself cheering for big plays by either team, while hoping they would beat each other up a little bit.

While the Sun went into that semifinal in Kelowna as favourites over the Rams, Blokker said some members of his coaching staff expected the underdogs to pull out the win. So the V.I. team hadn’t been putting all its attention into preparing for another Sun-Raiders showdown.

“If we would have felt that it was going to be a slam-dunk Okie win, maybe now we’d be scrambling a little bit more … but we were ready to prepare for both,” Blokker said.

So they’re now getting ready for the Rams. Nanaimo won the last meeting between the teams, 56-19, but that was against the regular-season Rams. As V.I. safety Cole Bishop pointed out, both teams left in the playoffs are 1-0.

“We have to see them as [though] they’ll be our toughest opponent to play so far,” he said.

The V.I. coach said he honestly expects the Rams to be the most challenging opponent yet for the Raiders.

“That team’s so full of confidence, they’re riding a high, they truly believe in each other and they deserve to be confident in themselves,” Blokker said. So we’re going to play the most confident Langley Rams team that we’ve played all year. We have to be able to execute and match their intensity.”

GAME ON … Kickoff Saturday (Oct. 22) is at 1 p.m. at Caledonia Park … Tickets are available in advance now at Atlas Truss on Boxwood Road. Tickets will also be available at the gate … For a game preview, visit www.nanaimobulletin.com on Friday or pick up Saturday’s print issue of the Bulletin.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com