The V.I. Raiders get to go to the Canadian Bowl, after overwhelming Ontario’s champions in their semifinal.
The Raiders squashed the Windsor AKO Fratmen 50-3 on Saturday in the Jostens Cup game in Windsor, Ont.
“In the first half we just needed to settle down and get focused and then in the second half we absolutely dominated and took over the game,” said Matthew (Snoop) Blokker, Raiders coach.
The score was 7-0 after one quarter and 19-3 at halftime and Blokker said his guys continued to play well even after the game turned into a blowout.
“They know and understand when they’re playing good football and they know where they need to be to play good football,” he said.
The Raiders outgained the Fratmen with 587 yards of total offence compared to 120. Windsor did not gain a first down until the second half.
“Defensively we were real fast compared to what they were used to…” Blokker said. “They realized pretty quick the run wasn’t working and they had trouble passing the ball on us, especially with the conditions in the wind.”
Nanaimo split playing time at quarterback, with Jaeden Marwick going 6-for-14 for 113 yards and two interceptions and Jahmari Bennett completing 7-of-13 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
“We didn’t use a ton of our playbook, but what we did use, I thought we were pretty efficient,” said Blokker.
Ashton Galloway opened the scoring on a 21-yard run, then after the teams traded field goals in the second quarter, Dylan Chapdelaine intercepted a deflected ball and returned it 46 yards for a pick six.
In the second half, Alex Kutra plunged for a one-yard touchdown run and Micheal Ritchott sped through holes in the Fratmen defence for a 56-yard major score. Dylan Schrot and Arthur Fabbro caught TD passes from Bennett.
V.I. kicker Ryan Jones finished the game 2-for-2 on field goal attempts, hitting from 36 and 29 yards out.
Ritchott was the game’s top rusher with 124 yards on seven carries and Bennett rushed for 85 yards. Kutra led the Raiders with 62 receiving yards.
Defensively, Chapdelaine, Cole Samson and Nigel Henry each made three tackles, Fabian Ross had an interception and Henry had a sack.
As the Raiders travelled back on Sunday, they watched the webcast of the Prairie Football Conference final and happened to see an upset. The Regina Thunder won their first PFC title, unseating the three-time national champions, the Saskatoon Hilltops, 21-16.
Blokker said that result “makes a big difference” as his team now gets ready to go to Regina for the Canadian Junior Football League championship on Nov. 9. Instead of facing the top-seeded Hilltops (8-2), the Raiders (11-2) have an unexpected date with the Thunder (7-2-1) in the Canadian Bowl.
“We’ve got to that game,” Blokker said. “You can’t win it unless you’re in it.”