VI Raiders Drop Cullen Cup Final to Langley

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Courtesy of Ryan Watters (BCFC Media), Photos by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)

October 28, 2012, Nanaimo, BC – From start to finish the 2012 Cullen Cup was played under a steady dose of rain in Nanaimo. However the wet conditions didn’t stop the Langley Rams from winning their first BCFC title since 2005, beating the host Vancouver Island Raiders 20-13.

It was a game that saw 10 turnovers, solid defence and 24 points were scored in the first quarter. Just nine points were scored the rest of the way.

Rams quarterback Greg Bowcott was named the Offensive Player of the Game finishing 10 of 20 for 247 yards and two touchdowns, both in the first quarter. He would find five different receivers through the rain, including Nick Downey who had a team high five catches for 85 yards and one of the majors. BCFC Rookie of the Year Malcolm Williams caught just two passes, but one was for a touchdown.

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One of the greatest QB’s CJFL history, Jordan Yantz, prepares himself mentally for a game that might mark the end of his junior career. – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

A balanced offensive attack was crucial against one of the best defences in the country. The Rams made a point to run the ball as Kyle Albertini carried a game high 17 times for 59 yards. Bowcott ran six times for 18 yards, while Downey also carried six times for 15 yards.

Kicker Nick Naylor was the all the scoring the Rams would get outside of the first quarter. He would finish a perfect two for two in field goals, hitting from 19 and 24 yards out. Naylor was named the Special Teams Player of the Game.

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The explosive Nick Downey of the Langley Rams would catch for 85 yards and rush for an additional 15 yards in Cullen Cup finals action – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

The Rams defence was the stingiest during the regular season and continued that trend in the 2012 playoffs. In two games the “D” would give up just 13 points. On Saturday the Rams defence would intercept the BCFC Offensive Player of the Year Jordan Yantz four times. Former Chilliwack Husker Tanner Hamade would pick off two passes, while Carlo Graziano and Jordan Linnen would each have one. Graziano would also recover two fumbles while linebacker Arie Nakagawa recovered one and forced two.

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Raiders Sawyer is tripped up by a Rams defensive player at the last second preventing a large gain. – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Former Raider Evan Foster was named the Defensive Player of the Game with four solo tackles, two assists and the only two sacks of the game. Nakagawa, Joe Patko and Linnen also had four tackles each.

In the second half this Rams defence was simply terrific holding the top offense in the country to just three points on route to the Cullen Cup title.

The Rams will host the 2012 Canadian Bowl on Saturday November 10, 2012. Their opponent will be determined in Saskatoon on Sunday. The PFC Champion Hilltops will host the OFC Champion London Beefeaters in the Jostens Cup National Semi-Final game. The last time the Rams appeared in the Canadian Bowl was in 1992 when the Surrey Rams lost to the Ottawa Sooners 35-18 in the Nation’s Capital.

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Raiders Ashton Galloway is taken down in field and weather conditions that were less that ideal – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

The season comes to a close for the Vancouver Island Raiders for the second consecutive year at home. Last year the Raiders fell in the National Semi-Final game to the Hilltops at Caledonia Park.

With the loss, the career of perhaps the greatest quarterback in Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) history also comes to an end. Jordan Yantz had an unbelievable five year career; however Saturday’s Cullen Cup was not his greatest performance. The three-time BCFC Offensive Player of the Year finished 16 of 34 for 213 yards, but threw four interceptions without throwing a touchdown pass.

His favourite target was Whitman Tomuziak who caught a game high six passes for 112 yards. In their final junior games Dustin Pederson hauled in five balls for 42 yards, while Michael Schaper caught two passes for 32 yards.

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The Langley Rams defense would pressure Yantz all afternoon, hurrying him to throw four interceptions – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

On the ground Yantz led the Raiders with 73 yards on six carries. Ashton Galloway carried eight times for 57 yards and scored the lone Raiders touchdown. However he had a critical fumble on the goal line in the third quarter.

Raiders’ kicker Mark Mueller, also in his final game, was a perfect two for two, hitting field goals from 16 and 31 yards out.

Defensively the Raiders forced three fumbles as John Jones recovered all three, in his final game. He would also finish with seven solo tackles. Dylan Chapdelaine also had seven solo tackles to lead the club. Ash Gayat had two sacks, while Quinton Clarke had one.

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Rams #21 Jordan Linnen and #26 Nick Felicella hoist the Cullen Cup in victory – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

The loss on Saturday is the Raiders first in team history in a Cullen Cup game. The last BCFC playoff loss was in 2005 when they also lost to the Rams. That season the “South Fraser Rams” beat the Raiders 20-14 in the semi-final on route to the Cullen Cup title.

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