New receiver catching up on playbook
The V.I. Raiders only made one trade-deadline move, but it was an interesting one. The city’s Canadian Junior Football League team picked up Mitch Thompson last week after the receiver was released by the Okanagan Sun.
Thompson had only three days of practice in Nanaimo before suiting up and making three catches for 50 yards in his first game Saturday, a 77-4 win at Kamloops. It’s an indication that he is “a student of the game,” said Matthew “Snoop” Blokker, Raiders coach.
“What an exciting pickup he was for us. He’s a really good route runner, he’s got great speed and he adds another element of having incredible hands to a receiving corps that can catch almost anything.”
Defensive line stands tall
One trade-deadline move the Raiders didn’t make was on the defensive line. The team had been hoping to acquire a D tackle but weren’t able to do so. Instead, depth player Casey Neal was inserted into the front four for Saturday’s game in Kamloops and had a fantastic debut with five tackles.
“Due to injury we decided we’re going to give him an opportunity to play and see how he was going to do in the first quarter…” Blokker said. “He just got better and better as the game went on and I don’t think we took him out.”
Neal will be a starter on D line again next game.
Third-string quarterback gets opportunity
Most V.I. Raiders fans probably didn’t know who the team’s third-string quarterback was before Saturday’s game in Kamloops, when receiver Dustin Pedersen started lining up at pivot.
Starting quarterback Jordan Yantz was a little banged up at that point in the game and backup Kurtis Bardua was out with a hand injury, so Pedersen made his debut at QB. He didn’t attempt a throw, but he executed some run plays that the Raiders wouldn’t ask Yantz to try.
“We don’t mind letting the Prince (Pedersen) take a couple hits whereas Yantzy’s a little different story,” Blokker said. “It gives us a whole new element and it’s something we saw for the first time. I know [offensive coordinator Daryl Rodgers] is pretty excited about it and he’s probably got half a binder drawn up of what we’re going to do with him.”
Raiders take on Huskers
Next action for the V.I. Raiders is this Saturday (Sept. 24) against the Chilliwack Huskers at 2 p.m. at Caledonia Park. For a preview of the game, please check back at www.nanaimobulletin.com on Friday (Sept. 23). To read yesterday’s article on the Raiders, please click here.