Sun spoil Raiders' home opener

Okanagan Sun receiver Lerone Robinson gains yards after a catch before being tackled by V.I. Raiders defensive back Brendan Lattimer during Saturday
Okanagan Sun receiver Lerone Robinson gains yards after a catch before being tackled by V.I. Raiders defensive back Brendan Lattimer during Saturday's B.C. Football Conference game at Nanaimo's Caledonia Park.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

The Sun burned the Raiders again. The Okanagan Sun defeated the Vancouver Island Raiders 64-20 on Saturday in Nanaimo at the newly refurbished Caledonia Park.

The home team marched down the field and scored a touchdown on its first drive, but the visitors were in control from there, scoring 31 points in the second quarter as they built up to a blowout. The clock went to run time in the fourth quarter.

"We didn't execute," said Brian Ridgeway, Raiders coach. "If we're giving them plays and they're taking them, props to them and the onus is on us to make plays."

The Sun were highly productive with both the run and the pass game, gaining 295 rushing yards and 411 passing yards. V.I. had 379 yards through the air and 47 on the ground.

From the sideline, Ridgeway was seeing his Raiders making fundamental mistakes. He said players weren't in the right position when they were in zone defence, and were taking their eyes off their assignments in man coverage.

"Their intensity was good, I don't know about their focus," said the coach. "We've got to watch the film and see where the busts came from."

Liam O'Brien, Raiders quarterback, said when his team made a mistake, things "kind of barrel rolled." He said football is such a game of momentum that it's hard to get it back when it's going the other way.

"We should be able to fight back," O'Brien said. "We would start to… It's hard to explain."

He finished 21-of-26 passing for 379 yards and threw touchdown passes to Marshall Cook and Dustin Rodriguez. Rodriguez had 146 receiving yards and Arthur Fabbro had 124 receiving yards.

V.I.'s defence was led by Dylan Chapdelaine, who had five tackles and a forced fumble, and Brendan Lattimer, who had five tackles and a sack. Daniel Dubinski also made five tackles. Colton Copp forced a fumble and shared a sack with Tyler Harvey.

For Okanagan, QB Cam Bedore was 18-for-24 for 351 yards and four TDs. Kyle Patchell had 211 receiving yards, three receiving majors and also recovered a teammate's fumble in the endzone for a fourth touchdown. Lerone Robinson had 102 receiving yards and a TD and Dillon Fortune rushed for 126 yards and a TD. Mikhail Maloff had two rushing TDs.

Okie's D was led by Brennan Van Nistelrooy, who had a sack and a fumble recovery, and Jamie Turek, who had five tackles. Cord Delinte, Zac Ironstand and Jonas Gering each had sacks and Nick Schroeder intercepted a tipped ball.

Ridgeway said his players responded to last week's blowout loss with a positive week of practice and is expecting the same this week from his guys.

"They're committed to getting better," he said. "We've just got to keep working on it and [we] will."

Even after the back-to-back losses, O'Brien said the Raiders remain optimistic.

"Honestly, we've got a good team here to stay strong through everything," he said. "Hopefully we can pick ourselves back up and get better this week and win next week."

GAME ON … The Raiders play the Langley Rams on Saturday (Aug. 23) at 4 p.m. at Caledonia Park.

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