The V.I. Raiders end the regular season the same way they started it, with a game against the Chilliwack Valley Huskers.
The Raiders were upset in that season opener, and want to make good this week as it’s their last chance to be playoff ready. The teams play Saturday, Oct. 13, at Caledonia Park.
Nanaimo is in fourth place and chasing third-place Chilliwack, and can take over that spot in the standings.
“We understand the difference between finishing third and fourth,” said Doug Hocking, Raiders coach. “With the way the league is this year, it’s a tight league and we’ve let a couple games go that we totally felt going into them that we could win and they didn’t turn out that way.”
That would include last week, when the Raiders travelled to the Fraser Valley and lost 27-10 to the Langley Rams. Hocking said there were some positives in that game on the defensive side of the ball and on special teams.
“We need to get back on track, we need to get some confidence going into the playoffs and get a win,” the coach said.
The Raiders, like other teams around the B.C. Football Conference, are dealing with injuries at this time of year; V.I. has been missing starting tailback Rhett Williams, for example.
“We’re going to get some bodies back, but as far as depth is concerned, we’re getting our playoff roster ready. We’ve got to get down to 45 guys, so I expect us to get down to those 45 guys and get them ready for this weekend and that’s probably what we’ll dress and we’ll put a sense of urgency on it,” Hocking said.
In last week’s loss at Langley, V.I.’s only touchdown came on a kick return from Jared Braun. Quarterback Jake Laberge was 10-for-24 passing for 127 yards and three interceptions. North Rainey made four catches for 78 yards. Safety Shawn Arabsky led the defence with an interception, six solo tackles and two assisted. Todd Campbell also made six solo tackles. Dillan Neufeld forced a fumble.
GAME ON … The Raiders and Huskers play Saturday, Oct. 13, at 1 p.m. at Caledonia Park. Tickets will be available at the gate.