The V.I. Raiders looked like an all-star team for much of the 2012 season, and the team’s all-star selections bear that out.
Nanaimo’s first-placed junior football club had seven players named to the B.C. Football Conference all-star team and garnered four major awards. The second-placed Langley Rams garnered the most accolades with 11 all-stars and six major award winners.
Raiders quarterback Jordan Yantz was selected as the BCFC’s Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year after a season in which he set a Canadian Junior Football League record with 3,243 passing yards and threw for a BCFC record 66.5 completion percentage and a league-high 33 touchdowns.
Yantz also shares the Outstanding Offensive Back award with Westshore Rebels tailback Greg Morris. Along with the all-star nod at the QB position, it makes it three years in a row that Yantz has earned the trifecta of honours.
Also winning major awards for the Raiders were Whitman Tomusiak, who was chosen as Outstanding Receiver after compiling a league-best 919 yards; and Tremaine Apperley, chosen Outstanding Defensive Back.
The Raiders’ other all-stars are offensive lineman Tyler Oldendorf, receiver Mike Schaper, linebacker Dylan Chapdelaine and kicker Mark Mueller.
Most of the other award winners were from Langley – Adam Konar was chosen as Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year and Outstanding Linebacker, receiver Malcolm Williams got the nod as Rookie of the Year, Nick Downey was chosen Outstanding Special Teams Player, former Raiders player Evan Foster got Outstanding Defensive Lineman and Anthony Daley won Outstanding Offensive Lineman. Westshore Rebels coach John Cardillichia gets the Ranji Mattu Memorial Coach of the Year award.
Veteran DB has it covered
Tremaine Apperley didn’t rack up the most eye-catching regular-season statistics – 13 solo tackles, one interception – but the BCFC recognized that no other defensive back does as much to help his team win.
All season long the 22-year-old has been tasked with covering the opponent’s most dangerous receiver – Langley’s Downey and Okanagan’s Bobby Davis.
“I like the fact that the coaches believe in me to cover their top guy and I don’t like to let my team down,” Apperley said. “So if they give me the opportunity I’m going to go out and do my best.”
Davis had one touchdown and 99 yards total in three regular-season games against Apperley and the Raiders. The matchup between the two will be one to watch again on Saturday (Oct. 20) in the BCFC semifinal at Caledonia Park.
“He’s a good player,” said Apperley. “I just do what the coaches ask me, I do what’s in my ability, do my job.”
Raiders will run the ball, too
The Raiders’ string of three straight rushing titles was snapped this year, but the team still believes its run game can be dangerous this post-season. Running the ball can sometimes take on added importance in autumn as the field gets muckier and the wet weather threatens.
“It’s not running more that counts, it’s being more efficient at it,” said Matthew (Snoop) Blokker, V.I. coach.
Ashton Galloway, Raiders tailback, is coming off a 96-yard game in which he outgained the BCFC’s rushing champion Greg Morris. Galloway said Nanaimo has narrowed down its run game to plays that can be effective.
“Hopefully the running game can pick up a little more so we have a balanced attack. We need it during the playoffs,” he said.
Running the ball on Saturday against the Sun will be complicated by the fact that the Raiders will be up against D-line standout Steven Doege. Galloway said the all-star will factor into his team’s game planning.
Doege is a beast, but then again, Galloway is known as Beastmode.
“You always want to be playmakers in the playoffs, help contribute to your team’s success,” said the Raiders’ back. “Definitely I think if I can get the ball I can do some stuff to help the team.”
Rivals get to crash helmets, once more
The V.I. Raiders and the Okanagan Sun play Saturday (Oct. 20) at 1 p.m. at Caledonia Park in the BCFC semifinals. Tickets will be available at the gate. A game preview was published yesterday and can be accessed online here.