Rams set to host Raiders in first-place showdown
In week two, the Langley Rams and Vancouver Island Raiders played to a 31-31 draw on the Raiders' home field in Nanaimo, a place where no visiting team has won during the regular season since 2005.
But this time, it will be the Raiders coming to the Rams' home turf at McLeod Park on Saturday afternoon (4 p.m.) in a match-up of the top two teams in the B.C. Junior Football Conference.
Both squads sport 5-0-1 records and share top spot in the six-team league.
It marks the first of a tough four-game schedule to close the regular season as Langley hosts the Raiders twice and goes on the road for a pair against the Westhore Rebels (5-1) and the Okanagan Sun (1-5), whose record is a bit misleading since the league adopted a new schedule which sees the top three teams from the previous season play each other three times and twice against the bottom three. That means Okanagan was grouped with Langley and the Raiders, while the Rebels play three times each against the Kamloops Broncos (1-5) and the Chilliwack Huskers (0-6).
The Rams boast the second ranked offence in the league with 46 points per game while their defence has been rock solid, the only unit to allow less than 100 points combined. Opposing teams are averaging a measly 12.2 points per game.
In Langley's most recent game on Sept. 15, they walloped the host Huskers 45-7 in Chilliwack.
Langley led 3-0 after one quarter off a field goal from Nick Naylor and then put the game out of reach in the second with four touchdowns.
The Rams rode an impressive ground game which churned out 284 yards on 28 carries — a whopping 10 yards per carry — and five touchdowns.
Kyle Albertini led the way with 139 yards and two scores while Daniel Xavier, Nick Downey and Cecil Belanger each found the end zone once.
Albertini was the offensive player of the game.
One key to the game was Chilliwack's strategy of not punting the ball to Downey.
That strategy resulted in great field position for the Rams.
Belanger and Greg Bowcott split the quarterbacking duties with the latter hitting Malcolm Williams for the team's lone score through the air. Belanger threw a pick which Jerry Sidhu returned 60 yards for the Huskers' lone score.
On defence, Andy Lee and Arie Nakagawa both picked off passes while Curtis Schindel recovered a pair of fumbles. The defence also came up with five quarterback sacks,including 1.5 from Brandon Klein.
Nick Felicella was the defensive player of the game with four tackles and two assists and three passes knocked down. As a team, Langley knocked down six passes and the special teams also blocked a punt.