V.I. Raiders have a lot to play for

Here are some players to watch at the Canadian Bowl this Saturday in Regina, when the V.I. Raiders face the Regina Thunder.

V.I. Raiders teammates Dustin Rodriguez

V.I. Raiders teammates Dustin Rodriguez

The Canadian Bowl will be played this Saturday (Nov. 9) in Regina, with Nanaimo’s V.I. Raiders taking on the Regina Thunder. For a preview of the game, please click this link. Here are some storylines to watch for in Saturday’s big game:

Quarterback a prodigal son

Raiders quarterback Jaeden Marwick couldn’t have hoped for a better homecoming than this.

The rookie, who is from Regina, chose to move west and join the Vancouver Island Raiders. Beginning the year as a backup, he took advantage of his opportunities and was MVP of the B.C. Football Conference final.

Now he leads the Raiders into Regina in a national championship game.

“Marwick’s been our starting quarterback since [Jamie] Ybarra got hurt so nothing’s changed in that department at all,” said Matthew (Snoop) Blokker, Raiders coach. “We still expect Marwick to be the starting quarterback.”

The pivot said he was trying to put aside the pressure and was looking forward to the Canadian Bowl.

“I can’t wait to be back in Regina,” he said. “It’s going to be a blast. Playing football in November and getting a chance at a national title? You can’t have more fun than that.”

All-star pivot making return

The V.I. Raiders sure needed their depth at quarterback, and they might need it one last time.

“As of now, we’re going to travel with three quarterbacks and dress three quarterbacks in the game if all three are healthy to go,” said Blokker.

Jamie Ybarra, who was the BCFC’s Rookie of the Year and an all-star, was back practising with the Raiders last week and was expecting to receive medical clearance to play after breaking his collarbone in a game in Langley on Sept. 28.

“This whole team’s mindset has been that we’re going to be in the national championship,” Ybarra said. “So when I got injured and they told me I’d be out for four to six weeks, I did the calculations and I realized that if I healed fast, then I’d be able to come back for this game. So it was always my intention and I just needed the team to pull through.”

It was nerve-wracking having to watch the games, he said.

Blokker said “it’s huge” if Ybarra is back and able to contribute in the Canadian Bowl.

“Everybody got to see, when he got on a little bit of a run, what type of quarterback he is,” said the coach.

Brothers meet in bowl game

The Regina Thunder will have home-field advantage in the Canadian Bowl, and a loud and proud fan base. The V.I. Raiders are sure to have a cheering contingent, too.

And then there will be those who don’t know who to cheer for – namely the Thompson family.

“They’re cheering for both teams,” said Alex Thompson, Raiders receiver.

He’ll be in the unique situation of taking on his brother, as Thunder receiver Mitch Thompson – a former Raiders player – will also be taking the field in the Canadian Junior Football League’s championship game Saturday (Nov. 9) on the Prairies.

“It will definitely give a little extra motivation to have the win over him when I go back there,” Alex said. “There’s been a little bit of talk going back and forth but it’s all in good fun. We both want each other to play good.”

Alex said the Raiders’ defensive backs will have to be wary of Mitch and the other Thunder receivers.

“They’re definitely going to have a big matchup on their hands and they’re going to have to play well, but I feel like our defensive backs are good enough to shut them down,” he said.

Raiders fan now a leader

One member of the V.I. Raiders is coming full circle as he takes the field in the Canadian Bowl.

Cole Samson, hard-hitting linebacker, used to be one of the Raiders’ biggest fans back when he was playing minor football with the Nanaimo Redmen.

In 2006, Cole kissed a loonie and his dad Wayne buried it at the centre of the field at Caledonia Park before that November’s national championship game.

“In 2006, they were all big men and I was way smaller than them,” he recalled.

Whether or not the good-luck gesture helped, the Raiders won the championship that day, 27-26 over the Edmonton Wildcats.

In his last year of junior eligibility, Samson decided he wanted to play for his hometown Raiders, the team he used to cheer for, and try to win with them.

“Coach Snoop said the first day we met that this was going to be a national championship team. So he’s kept his word and I kept mine – I came on the team and I was a leader,” Samson said. “So it’s come down to this.”

Game on

The V.I. Raiders and the Regina Thunder play in the Canadian Bowl this Saturday (Nov. 9) at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium. Kickoff is noon Pacific Time and there will be a pay-per-view webcast available for $10 on the Regina Thunder’s website. For details, click here … This is Part 2 of the News Bulletin’s Canadian Bowl preview. For Part 1, please click here … Check back at the News Bulletin’s website on Saturday for results from the Canadian Bowl.


Just Posted

Beef to the lady who went onto my property then proceeded to take my large plant from my home. I found out and asked for it returned. You said I was dramatic? You should be ashamed of yourself.
Beefs & Bouquets, June 16

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts’s body was discovered near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Lotto Max player in Nanaimo wins $500,000

Campbell River lotto player wins $1 million in the Tuesday, June 15 draw

An artist’s rendering of a proposed student housing complex at 326 Wakesiah Ave. (WA Architects Ltd. image)
Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Lotto Max player in Nanaimo wins $500,000

Campbell River lotto player wins $1 million in the Tuesday, June 15 draw

Flowers and candles were laid on the driveway of the Weber home, where Kerri Weber was found dead in November 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria man to stand trial for death of his wife last November

Ken Weber is charged with second-degree murder of his wife, Kerri Weber

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New residential school healing centre to be built near Duncan

$5-million Indigenous treatment centre will help survivors of residential schools heal

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

Most Read