V.I. Raiders linebacker Taylor Saine

V.I. Raiders linebacker Taylor Saine

V.I. Raiders can clinch first place

The V.I. Raiders (7-0-1) play the Langley Rams (6-1-1) this Saturday (Oct. 6) on the road, with a chance to clinch first place in the BCFC.

This season has brought its fair share of frantic fourth quarters. And now there’s going to be some late-season drama, too.

The V.I. Raiders (7-0-1) play the Langley Rams (6-1-1) this Saturday (Oct. 6) on the road, with a chance to clinch first place in the B.C. Football Conference.

“This is what we want. This is great for our league,” said Matthew (Snoop) Blokker, Raiders coach. “The fact that we’re going into Game 9 and there’s this much on the table right now, I think is really exciting.”

The Raiders and Rams  have been jostling for position in the standings all season long. The teams tied 31-31 in Nanaimo in August, then V.I. defeated Langley 41-29 two weeks ago in the Fraser Valley.

“The game was closer than the score says,” said Jaxxen Wylie, Raiders safety. “Obviously they’re a good team, they’ve got weapons on the outside so it’s exciting to play a good team like that.”

The Rams like to try to force the ball into the hands of their playmaker receivers Nick Downey and Malcolm Williams.

“We’ve got to be physical with them,” said Wylie. “We’ve got strong guys on the outside that can push them around.”

Aside from the Rams’ big-play potential, Langley also has a beefy offensive line that can open up holes for its running backs to take chunks of yardage straight up the middle of the field.

“That presents problems for us, but if we can keep them in passing downs then we’re OK,” Blokker said. “If we can’t stop the run, then it’s going to be a long day.”

So the battle in the trenches will be important, and the Raiders look forward to that part of the game, too.

“We have to earn everything, every inch,” said Jordan Kuziek, V.I. lineman. “At the end of the game if we get the most inches, we’ve won the game.”

And the Raiders know what a win means – not just first place, but home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

“Which is obviously huge for us,” Blokker said. “That’s been our goal, and here it is, right in front of us, and a chance to do it.”

GAME ON … The Raiders and Rams are scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 6) at Langley’s McLeod Park. There will be a live webcast at www.viraiders.ca … To read yesterday’s midweek news and notes on the Raiders, please click here.


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