The V.I. Raiders’ most recent win was eye-catching and record-setting, but it’s over, and the team will move on.
After demolishing the Chilliwack Huskers 85-0 on Saturday at Caledonia Park, the Raiders returned to practice Tuesday refocused for Okanagan Sun week.
Even though the Sun (1-4) and the Huskers (0-5) are separated by just two points in the B.C. Football Conference standings, the Raiders (4-0-1) know they need to expect a significant jump in calibre of football.
“How you respond to that is really a test of your character,” said Jordan Yantz, Raiders quarterback.
Matthew (Snoop) Blokker, Raiders coach, expects his team to be totally focused on the Sun. Games against Okanagan fire up the coaching staff, he said, and he said bragging rights and reputation are always on the line when the rivals meet. So he doesn’t worry about his players being too busy patting themselves on the back after an 85-0 win.
“If we were playing maybe somebody else I’d worry about it, but we’re playing the Sun,” said Blokker. “I think everybody realizes how much … of a rivalry this is.”
The Raiders and Sun kick off Saturday (Sept. 15) at 1 p.m. at Kelowna’s Apple Bowl stadium. The game will be streamed at www.okanagansun.ca. Look for more on the matchup tomorrow at www.nanaimobulletin.com/sports.
Yantz will stick to quarterbacking
Jordan Yantz’s first career receiving touchdown is likely to be his last.
The fifth-year Raiders quarterback caught a two-yard pass from teammate Dustin Pedersen early in Saturday’s 85-0 win.
Yantz said he had been joking with coaches leading up to the Huskers game about wanting to try for a receiving TD. With the Raiders up 14-0 and with a first-and-goal from the two, Yantz hinted to offensive coordinator Daryl Rodgers that the time was ripe.
“I said, ‘Well, coach, this is the best chance,’ kind of joking around, and he’s like, ‘All right, let’s do it,'” Yantz related. “I think the corner that was out there covering me was actually shocked to see me out there. It was pretty cool, man.”
It also leaves the QB with a greater appreciation, perhaps, for what his receivers do all game, every game.
“Absolutely,” said Yantz. “Considering the ball hit me right in the hands and I had to double catch it.”
Stonehouse gets to the house
Also achieving a rare feat on Saturday was Raiders defensive lineman Shane Stonehouse, who recovered a fumble in the endzone Saturday for a touchdown.
The BCFC hasn’t yet announced its players of the week, but Stonehouse will be in the conversation after making two tackles, two sacks and forcing two fumbles to go with his TD.
“It was definitely awesome,” he said of the touchdown. “First of my CJFL career and hopefully a few more to come.”
Another defensive player to score his first major Saturday was Ariel Fabbro, who returned an interception 24 yards to the endzone. The Nanaimo product leads the league with four INTs.
Raiders add defensive depth
The Raiders added another player to a defensive backfield that suddenly features tremendous depth.
Sam Kosolofski returns to the Raiders from the University of Regina Rams, and will be immediately inserted into the lineup against the Sun.
The recent additions of J.J. Mraovic, Cole Bishop and the emergence of rookie Jaxxen Wylie have allowed the Raiders to move Rockenson Angrand, who started the season at safety, up to the defensive line.