Raiders win in fourth-quarter comeback

Nanaimo's V.I. Raiders edged the Kamloops Broncos 16-13 on Saturday night in the Interior.

The V.I. Raiders came back in the second half to come up with a road win against the Kamloops Broncos.

Nanaimo’s Canadian Junior Football League club edged the home team 16-13 on Saturday night in the Interior.

“It was a tough road trip, busing up there all day and then coming out and playing well, we were happy with that,” said Jerome Erdman, Raiders coach.

He said all three facets of the game contributed to the win. Kicker James Parker was 3-for-4 on field goals, including a 43-yarder, and kicked the tying and winning points. One of the turning points in the game came on a special teams play in the third quarter, as Brody Taylor blocked a punt that the Raiders recovered on the three-yard line. Nate Berg punched in the major to narrow the score to 13-10.

Erdman said his team regrouped after falling behind 13-3 before halftime.

“They showed a lot of character fighting back from that in the second half,” said Erdman.

Berg amassed 186 rushing yards on 29 carries. Jake Laberge was back at quarterback and went 12-for-22 for 109 yards, with Dustin Rodriguez making nine catches for 71 yards.

On defence, Jérémie Cheng and Cole Virtanen had interceptions and Jace Harden recovered a fumble. Kaelan Botel had two sacks and Matt Hill and Nathan Warawa had one each. Alex Eberling made nine tackles to go with two knockdowns and Nathan Mayers made six tackles.

The victory, which gets the Raiders (3-3) back to .500, was an important one, the coach said.

“It’s huge. You never want to go into a bye week on a loss. So we went up there and we were under adverse conditions, so I think that will do their confidence a lot of good,” said Erdman.

“I think they’re starting to believe now that they can do it. I think the coaching staff always believed that they can, but there’s a difference from us believing and them believing.”

GAME ON … Next action for the Raiders is Sept. 10, when they visit the Langley Rams at McLeod Athletic Park for a 4 p.m. kickoff . Next home game is Sept. 17, when the Westshore Rebels visit Caledonia Park for a 2 p.m. contest.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com