Veterans lead the way as Raiders win regular-season finale

The V.I. Raiders closed out the regular season with a 37-17 win over the Valley Huskers on Saturday in Chilliwack.

The V.I. Raiders will go into the post-season on a winning note.

Nanaimo’s B.C. Football Conference team closed out the regular season with a 37-17 win over the Valley Huskers on Saturday in Chilliwack.

“It is what is technically called an ugly win,” said Jerome Erdman, Raiders coach. “We were very sloppy, to tell you the truth, but at the end of the day we did enough to win, so that’s what counts.”

The game was 10-10 at halftime, but the Raiders were able to round out their offence in the second half and they outscored the Huskers down the stretch.

“I didn’t think we executed as well as we have in the past offensively…” Erdman said. “We were trying to force the ball a little bit which we hadn’t been doing the last couple of weeks.”

The defence did a pretty good job but will need to be better come playoffs, the coach said.

“[The Huskers] did catch a couple of long balls on the seams against us, which is something we’re going to have to work on,” he said.

Two graduating fifth-year Raiders were in fine form to cap off the regular season, as tailback Nathan Berg had 181 rush yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries and receiver Dustin Rodriguez had 11 catches for 191 yards and a TD. Rodriguez’s big game earned him the conference’s receiving yards crown, as he finishes first in the BCFC in both yards (941) and catches (51).

V.I.’s other points on Saturday were all scored by kicker James Parker, who went 3-for-3 on field-goal attempts, connecting from 31, 16 and 28 yards out.

Quarterback Jake Laberge was 16-for-26 for 243 yards and threw one touchdown and four interceptions.

On defence, Jérémie Cheng and Gevhahn McNally-Hardisty each had two interceptions. Dexter Shea made five tackles and knocked down two passes and Nathan Warawa also had five tackles.

The result pushed the Raiders (5-4-1) above .500 and extended V.I.’s undefeated streak to three games.

GAME ON … The Raiders will play the No. 1-seeded Westshore Rebels in the playoffs. The game will be Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at Westhills Stadium in Victoria after the BCFC takes a bye week for Thanksgiving. The other playoff matchup will see the Okanagan Sun host the Langley Rams on Oct. 16.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com