V.I. Raiders plan to batter Rams

The V.I. Raiders, Nanaimo’s Canadian Junior Football League team, takes to the field Saturday (Oct. 1) for its final home game of the regular season as it plays the Langley Rams.

Langley Rams kick returner Nick Downey

Langley Rams kick returner Nick Downey

The V.I. Raiders clinched a playoff berth long ago, but there’s always something to play for.

Nanaimo’s Canadian Junior Football League team takes to the field Saturday (Oct. 1) for its final home game of the regular season as it plays the Langley Rams.

The high-flying Raiders seem to be setting records every week and that could certainly be the case again Saturday.

Quarterback Jordan Yantz is one touchdown pass away from setting the CJFL career mark for TD passes. The Raiders also have a shot at the single-season points record – they need 46 to break their own record of 505 and they’re averaging 58.

Coach Matthew “Snoop” Blokker said no matter the distractions, no matter the opponent, no matter that the team clinched a playoff berth ages ago, his players have managed to keep perspective.

“Our focus to get two points is still the most important thing and if that’s not changing, then we’re going to be OK,” he said.

Today’s matchup features the B.C. Football Conference’s top touchdown threats – Rams kick returner Nick Downey has reached the endzone 13 times this season while Raiders receiver Andrew Smith has 12 majors.

Downey has been slowed somewhat the past two weeks as opponents have simply stopped kicking the ball his way.

“It is real frustrating. It takes away from our team, and from me, too. [But] it does give us better field position,” he said. “It shows that I am doing something right [and] that they have respect for me.”

GAME ON … The Raiders and Rams are set to kick off Saturday at 1 p.m. at Caledonia Park, not 2 p.m. as originally scheduled. Tickets will be available at the gate … To read Part 1 of the Bulletins’ Raiders-versus-Rams preview, please click here.

-with files from Gary Ahuja