Both teams will be ready for some football, and a playoff game will determine which team is more ready.
The V.I. Raiders are preparing to face the Westshore Rebels in the B.C. Football Conference post-season this Saturday (Oct. 15) in Victoria.
The teams had an extra week to get ready, as the league took a break over the Thanksgiving long weekend.
Nathan Warawa, Raiders defensive lineman, said it was important to recognize that the extra time between games wasn’t a bye week.
“It’s kind of like an extra preparation week,” he said. “So we’ve just got to take advantage of the time we’re given.”
The Raiders planned to make the most of it, hoping for many different positive outcomes. They want to ramp up the intensity at times in practice, but balance that with rest for their bodies. There will also be a lot of mental preparation as the Raiders closely study their playoff opponent.
“First, I think it’s make sure we keep everyone healthy because we have a couple of bumps and bruises,” said Jake Laberge, Raiders quarterback. “And then coming to practice every day and doing what we’re supposed to do and keeping our focus.
“For us I think it’ll be getting to a lot of film and getting to know their defence really well and everything they’re going to do and everything they’re going to bring, so when we get out there, we’re not surprised by anything they do.”
Warawa said the Raiders have had up-tempo practices all year so he expects players will continue with that and won’t start to get sloppy now. Laberge said he anticipates practices intensifying this week.
“I can see the fifth years pushing us a lot more. For a lot of them, this could be their last football game, you never know. So I think the intensity will be really high and we’ll be flying around,” he said.
The Raiders hope that the playoffs will be a continuation of their team’s trajectory. V.I. enters the post-season on a roll, unbeaten over its last three games.
“That’s pretty good momentum with the last three going into the playoffs, so we’re all feeling really good going against Victoria and we think it will be a really good game,” Laberge said.
Warawa said the recent results build confidence and he said the Raiders do feel like they’re rolling.
“I feel like we are peaking right now and other teams aren’t, so that’s definitely a strong point for us, we can take advantage of that,” he said. “And it’s just kind of a morale thing, right? If you think you can do it, then you can do it.”
GAME ON … The Raiders and Rebels kick off Saturday (Oct. 15) at 7 p.m. at Westhills Stadium. For ticket information, please visit www.westshorerebels.ca/game-tickets/.