V.I. Raiders start to get ‘nasty’

Playing one of the league’s weaker opponents last week could have been a letdown.
But the V.I. Raiders made sure that wasn’t the case.

V.I. Raiders defensive lineman Evan Foster smacks the tackling dummy Tuesday night at practice at Comox Field.

V.I. Raiders defensive lineman Evan Foster smacks the tackling dummy Tuesday night at practice at Comox Field.

Playing one of the league’s weaker opponents last week could have been a letdown.

But the V.I. Raiders made sure that wasn’t the case.

Nanaimo’s Canadian Junior Football League team used Saturday’s road game against the Kamloops Broncos to try to build an identity.

Coach Matthew “Snoop” Blokker demanded, before the game, that players raise their physicality.

“He wanted us to be a little more nasty and I think we found that identity pretty well,” said Evan Foster, Raiders defensive lineman. “It was a really good feel after.”

Playing physical was an easy sell against a Broncos team that the Raiders don’t particularly like.

Mike Schaper, veteran receiver, said his team intended to be physical just between the whistles, but pushed that envelope a little bit when they got irritated by the Broncos.

“We all had each others’ backs throughout the whole four quarters and we all battled like brothers,” he said.

Blokker was happy with a lot of different areas of his team’s play in the 77-4 thrashing, but said the Raiders’ attitude was the most encouraging aspect of the win.

“We want to make sure that we’re the type of team that everyone realizes you’re going to get 60 minutes of us coming really hard and really physical…” he said. “You can’t come out and try to be a skilfull player first and then try to dominate physically. It has to be the other way around, and that’s the identity of the Raiders.”

GAME ON … The next game for Nanaimo is this Saturday (Sept. 24) against the Chilliwack Huskers at 2 p.m. at Caledonia Park. For a preview of the game, please visit www.nanaimobulletin.com on Friday (Sept. 23).

sports@nanaimobulletin.com