Story and Images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
September 15, 2013, Naniamo, BC (ISN) – The Vancouver Island Raiders climbed into first place in the British Columbia Football Conference with a 41-27 win over the reigning 2012 BCFC champion Langley Rams Saturday at Caledonia Field.
The Raiders (4-2-0), losing their last two games to the Langley team, most recently a 36-28 loss earlier in the season, had a score to settle with the 5-1 Rams. The Raider’s ship, perhaps a little rocky earlier season, have shown the resilience in play of late that most Raider fans of come to recognize over the years with a three game winning streak in tow. With a demolishing of the previously unbeaten Okanagan Sun 45-17 last Saturday, the Rams knew they would be entering into an all-important battle that could decide the seasons eventual first place position in the conference.
0313 – Raiders receiver Dylan Schrot, taking some of the heat away for fellow teammate Whitman Tomusiak, would pull down an impressive 168 yards pass receiving against the tough Langley Rams – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Raiders first year QB Jamie Ybarra would put together an outstanding offensive game against his Rams rookie counterpart Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren in front of a packed house of Raiders fans. Ybarra would command his team right from the opening play, tossing for 375 yards on 32 attempts, and 467 yards in net offense in an otherwise highly contested battle.
Mikhail Malhof, running back from Kelowna,BC would provide the spark for his Raiders, going the distance returning this ball 95 yards on a punt return – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Both the Raiders and Rams would spar for offensive position early with Ybarra finding the house first to put his Raiders on top. Gilbert-Knorren would reply with his own touchdown soon after on a goal line QB keeper to even the score at 7-7. The Rams would concede a second quarter touchdown on a missed defensive assignment, allowing Raiders standout Whitman Tomusiak behind the defense for the major. The Raiders offense would put the Rams on their heels late in half, opening up a 27-7 lead capped by a highlight reel 95 yard touchdown kick return by Raiders running back Mikhail Maloff . The Rams, not to be denied a reply, would answer back with the last seven points in the half on a field goal, and a goal line touchdown toss from Gilbert-Knorren to Rams first year receiver Jacob Carvey to close the half with the Raiders up 27-18.
Rams Nathan Lund would give his team a fighting chance against the Raiders defense, putting together 123 yards total offense Saturday afternoon at Calendonia Park in Naniamo – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
0773 – The Langley Rams and the Vancouver Island Raiders squared off against each other Saturday in Naniamo for first place in the BCFC. The Raiders would come out on top 41-27 – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Key to the Raiders return to game form has been the return of Tomusiak, the CJFL’s top receiver. In their last meeting, Tomusiak ran through the Rams defense, amassing 225 yards on 11 passes, only for his team to fall short by one point in a late game comeback bid. Tomusiak has become a bit of an offensive utility player of late for the Raiders as teams start to keep a closer eye on his every step downfield, sometimes in double coverage. The Raiders, recognizing his explosiveness in the open field are also finding his value in the backfield, using him in running plays from behind the line of scrimmage, showing the opposition different looks on the field. Tomusiak was added last week to the BC Lions roster as a territorial exemption, meaning that he practices with the lions during the week and plays with the Raiders on the weekends.
Raiders Kicker Ryan Jones would put his legs to good use Saturday against the Langley Rams with 264 yards total punting, and a game best 56 yard kick to help his team keep pressure on the Rams – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
When asked of the value of having such a notable receiver in the game, Raiders coach Blokker would say, ” for sure, when they (the Rams) tried to single him, we went after them. Any time you put two guys over on one, we feel we have some pretty talented guys and we’re going to take advantage of it, and our quarterback did a great job (recognizing it).”
Raiders rookie QB Jamie Ybarra on the roll out and throw to his wide reciever. Ybarra would post 375 passing yards in the win over the Langley Rams – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Rams QB, perhaps hearing Raider footsteps behind him too often in the second half, would be forced out of the pocket frequently. Scrambling for 91 yards, Gilbert-Knorren would be sacked three times in the game by the relentless Raiders defense. The Rams would rely on running back Nathan Lund for the only Rams touchdown in the second half, slipping through the Raiders downfield coverage and running back a kickoff return for 80 yards to the house for the major. The Raiders would hold the rams to just 59 net offensive yards in the last half, while Ybarra would continue finding down field help in Tomusiak and Schrot. Dylan Schrot, an import from Winnepeg, MB, would haul down an impressive 168 yards passing, and a late third quarter touchdown to the Raider cause. Raiders Andrew Deleon, taking on the teams rushing duties for the injured Ashton Galloway, would add to his team’s impressive play with his own touchdown early at the half-way mark of the third quarter. Both teams were unable to add to the score in in the last quarter.
Rams quarterback Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren would be flushed out of the pocket by the Raiders defense, being forced to put the ball on the ground 11 times for 91 yards on the afternoon – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Rams secondary unit, a bright spot in the Rams game, would play a large part in keeping the game close, intercepting Ybarra four times in the game. Rams Joe Patko would record two of those takeaways, one for a run back of 43 yards. Unfortunately for the Rams, the Raiders would best the Rams with 229 yards net offense in the last half for the win and first place in the BCFC.
Rams Gilbert-Knorren feel the heat from Raiders linebacker Nigel Ross Henry-Degannes – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Coach Blokker, would comment on his teams performance. ” We still lack in consistency right now. We have to be more consistent. It’s the small things we’re not recognizing yet, but we’re young, we’re working on it, but we’re getting better at it. I loved the effort. Physically, two weeks in a row now we’ve met the challenge and stepped it up. All around, a great job.”
#8 Dylan Chapdelaine make good use of his body, putting a huge hit on Rams Jordan Traversy – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Raiders, with three games remaining, will meet Rams once more in regular season play in what might just be a preview of the 2013 British Columbia Football Conference Championship. The Raiders visit the Westshore Rebels next weekend at Westhills Stadium.