McKenzie Nofield of the V.I. Raiders tackles Langley Rams opponent Xavion Fleary during Saturday’s B.C. Football Conference game at NDSS Community Field. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

McKenzie Nofield of the V.I. Raiders tackles Langley Rams opponent Xavion Fleary during Saturday’s B.C. Football Conference game at NDSS Community Field. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

V.I. Raiders’ first-ever home game under the lights doesn’t go their way

Langley Rams spoil Raiders’ season opener 22-1 Saturday

The V.I. Raiders played at home under the lights for the first time, but weren’t able to create enough highlights to win a football game.

The Raiders lost 22-1 to the Langley Rams on Saturday, Sept. 11, in B.C. Football Conference action at NDSS Community Field.

The game was close much of the way through, as the Raiders scored a first-quarter rouge and led the game until 78 seconds before halftime, when the Rams scored the game’s first major on a 37-yard touchdown pass.

A Rams interception in the third quarter led to a one-yard TD run and a 16-1 lead for the visitors.

In the fourth quarter, the Raiders blocked a field goal and Jacub Gillman ran it back to the Rams’ red zone, but V.I.’s offence fumbled and didn’t get another chance to make the game closer.

Curtis Vizza, Raiders coach, said his team executed the game plan well in some areas and not as well in other areas, but said it’s part of the team’s growth process.

“Finally seeing a new opponent changed a lot for them,” he said. “The inexperience will show when you’re playing different guys. You don’t know tendencies, you don’t know how they work, there’s no film, it’s all reaction. So they have to think a bit faster and that’s something that we’re going to take the experience from and move forward.”

Vizza said defensively, he loved the pressure the Raiders’ D-line was bringing, which he said interrupted what the opponent was trying to do and helped keep the game close. On the offensive side of the ball, he said the team might need to go “back to the drawing board,” reassess what the team does well and refine some of the basics.

READ ALSO: It’s football season, finally, for Nanaimo’s V.I. Raiders

The coach said he expects his team will “absolutely” respond to the season-opening loss the right way, through the leadership of the veterans.

“They get 24 hours to sit on a loss like this and after that, we move on to the next challenge. We don’t dwell,” Vizza said.

GAME ON … The Raiders visit the Kamloops Broncos on Saturday, Sept. 18. Next home action for the Raiders is Sept. 25, when the Okanagan Sun are in town for a 5:30 p.m. kickoff at NDSS Community Field.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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