This is the part of the season that the Nanaimo Redmen were waiting for.
The city’s Vancouver Mainland Football League midget team is in the midst of the toughest portion of its fall schedule, with a game coming up this Sunday (Oct. 2) against the defending-champion Victoria Spartans.
Last weekend it was the North Delta Longhorns providing the challenge as the Redmen (3-1) suffered their first loss of the season, 14-11 on the road.
“You learn more about your team from a loss than from a win. You can’t just go and whup on the bad [teams],” said Jaxxen Wylie, Redmen kick returner. “We’re going to see if we can rebound.”
Coach Sean Roden said his team stood up to the Longhorns last week and was unlucky to lose. The defence, he said, was excellent, but turnovers were the team’s undoing.
Wylie scored Nanaimo’s only touchdown on a punt return and Taylor Saine led the Redmen in tackles.
“We proved to ourselves that we’re good enough to run with that team, for sure,” Roden said. “But we also proved to ourselves that if we don’t execute like the way we need to, we’re going to lose games.”
The Redmen recognize some of the things they can work on, particularly their mesh points in the run game. As for the opposition, Nanaimo doesn’t know for sure if Victoria’s No. 1 QB will be available to play so they’re preparing for anything but focusing on their own game.
“It’s going to take this week to figure out where we’re at,” said Saine. “Hopefully Sunday we’ll show them what we’ve got.”
He said the Redmen rise to the occasion against good teams.
“It’s the intensity. When you go on the field you know this team’s not going to sit down like some other teams,” he said. “It makes me play a better game because I know if I don’t play my best game, I know they will.”
GAME ON … The Redmen and Spartans kick off at 3 p.m. Sunday at May Richards Bennett Pioneer Park. Admission is free.