V.I. Raiders linebacker Glenn Boyce, right, tracks down a Westshore Rebels opponent during a game earlier this season in Victoria. The rival teams meet again this Saturday (Sept. 10) at Caledonia Park.

Raiders hit ‘restart’ button

The V.I. Raiders resume what has been a perfect season so far when they host the Westshore Rebels this Saturday (Sept. 10) at Caledonia Park.

Football season is back in a big way after a bye week.

The V.I. Raiders resume what has been a perfect season so far when they host the Westshore Rebels this Saturday (Sept. 10) at Caledonia Park.

“There’s nothing better than you come back and right away the Island rivalry fires up,” said Matthew “Snoop” Blokker, Raiders coach.

The bye week had its merits, as players cleared their heads and healed their bodies.

“It totally feels like a whole new season,” said Jordan Yantz, Raiders quarterback. “Not only myself, I think everybody else is pretty anxious to get back at it. It’s a new season, a fresh start – September football. The season only gets better from here.”

The Raiders played each of the B.C. Football Conference’s other five teams in the first half of the season.

“We’ve got to restart it all over again,” Blokker said. “As coaches our job is to get right back to the simplest, basic things.”

And once the team is back in mid-season form, it can set about getting better. The Raiders anticipate the rest of B.C.’s teams will pose a tougher test the second time around.

“Every other team’s going to know our schemes and what we do on the offensive and defensive side of the ball,” Yantz said. “We’ve just got to be ready for it … they’re going to be wanting to beat us that much more.”

The QB said he wants to see the team get better each week, knowing that no game is ever perfect.

Dylan Chapdelaine, Raiders linebacker, doesn’t think the team will coast in the second half of the season.

“We’re trying to better ourselves, not looking at what we’ve done, but look forward and make ourselves better instead of looking at how much we’ve beaten teams,” he said.

The Raiders anticipate a good game this weekend. They beat the Rebels 72-6 last month, but expect their rivals to make things closer this time.

“It’s good competition, it’s always a good rivalry, it’s always a fun game to play,” Chapdelaine said.

“It gets pretty heated. We come to play, they come to play. Our best versus their best and we’ll see what happens.”

GAME ON …The Raiders (5-0) take on the Victoria Rebels (3-2) this Saturday (Sept. 10) at Caledonia Park at 2 p.m. … The V.I. Raiders added a new player with some promising football bloodlines. Nanaimo’s Canadian Junior Football League team signed linebacker Jonathon Jones during the bye week. The younger brother of B.C. Lions offensive lineman Andrew Jones was formerly committed to the University of Western Ontario Mustangs, a powerful CIS program. Raiders coach Matthew “Snoop” Blokker said Jones will play Saturday (Sept. 10) against the Westshore Rebels, perhaps in a limited role. The B.C. Football Conference trade deadline is Sept. 15.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo News Bulletin

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