Both teams scored their share of touchdowns, but the home team scored more of them and won in Week 1.
The V.I. Raiders were defeated 42-30 by the Langley Rams to start the B.C. Football Conference season on Saturday in the Fraser Valley.
“We were very competitive against the defending champs,” said Curtis Vizza, Raiders coach. “Langley fielded a great team. A lot of our guys are new and there are new systems and they showed a lot of heart, a lot of guts and a lot of promise.”
The Raiders trailed 21-8 late in the first half, then narrowed the gap to 28-23 before the Rams regained an edge.
“There’s definitely some places where we’re going to need to do some learning and spend some more time with attention to detail but … I’ve seen resilience out of the group. When things were down, things were tough, they didn’t give up and for a Week 1 match, I’m very happy with that,” the coach said.
Raiders quarterback Jake Laberge was 15-for-29 passing for 212 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Mike West caught two TD passes, Jared Braun caught one and North Rainey had 90 receiving yards.
On defence, Gevhahn McNally-Hardisty scored a touchdown on an 89-yard interception return and he also had five tackles. Jérémie Cheng also had five tackles and an interception and Cody Harper had five tackles, too. Brayden Belton had a sack and Tyler Hill had a fumble recovery.
“We might have lost, but it wasn’t where we got blown out or didn’t belong there,” Vizza said. “It was like, ‘OK, we belong here.’ We’ll make some lineup and some [other] adjustments and we’re going to be back and we’re going to do well.”
Next action for the Raiders (0-1) comes against their Island rivals, the Westshore Rebels (1-0). Vizza said his players are pumped about the next game, and he said he’s excited to experience the rivalry for the first time as head coach.
“They look great. They had a good game against Chilliwack and they’ve got a good group of athletes…” Vizza said. “It’s always a great game in Victoria. It’s the closest thing to a fight that we’ll really get.”
GAME ON … The Raiders and Rebels play Saturday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m. at Westhills Stadium in Langford.