Redmen battle adversity

NANAIMO: Football squad can't afford a downward spiral.

There were some positives to take out of a 24-21 Vancouver Mainland Football League loss, but the Nanaimo Redmen have some work to do.

The Redmen dropped the league opener to the Victoria Spartans on the road Monday.

Coach Sean Roden said some confusion on defence and turnovers on offense proved costly.

“Anytime you lose because you didn’t execute it’s disappointing,” he said. “We had a fair amount of competitive play in exhibition which makes our inconsistency even more disappointing.”

A host of injuries led to new players in the lineup who were not familiar with the Redmen’s  team schemes.

“It’s nothing we can’t fix although with a short week and a pretty physical game, I’m not sure just how much we can do early in practice. I’m not a big fan of Monday games,” said Roden.

Redmen quarterback  Dylan Tucker had a good game, completing 14 passes in 21 attempts, including touchdowns to James Danylchuk, Trent Wright and Jon Evenson.

“That was something positive to take out of it,” said Roden. “We were down 24-8 at one point and showed some character to not fold up our tent and we made it a close one.”

The Redmen host the Langley Stampeders in their home opener Sunday (Sept. 9) at Pioneer Park and Roden expects an emotional game.

“We knocked them out of the playoffs last year and a fight ended the game early,” he said. “I know my players are looking forward to it and I can only assume the returning Langley players involved in the game last fall surely have not forgotten.”

With an 0-1 start and a tough schedule, the Redmen have to jump on a Stampeder team that lost its opener to Cowichan.

“We have a tough schedule, all top teams, and I’m stressing to our players to be focused, be committed and attend  practice because we can’t afford a downward spiral,” said Roden.

“We have to rectify things starting this weekend. There will be no coasting into the playoffs this year.”

Game time is 3 p.m.