Raiders rock Langley Rams 41-29
When it comes to seeing who is the top dog in the B.C. Junior Football Conference, the Vancouver Island Raiders showed they are still the team to beat.
The Raiders, the six-time defending league champs, came into McLeod Park on Saturday afternoon and handed the Langley Rams their first loss of the season, 41-29.
The teams entered the showdown with identical 5-0-1 records. The Rams and Raiders had played to a 31-31 tie in week two in Nanaimo.
But a two-and-a-half minute stretch of game time bridging the second and third quarters did in the home side as the Raiders exploded for 17 points in that short span.
The Raiders led 14-11 at the break but took the second half kick-off 100 yards for a touchdown. And to make things worse, on the ensuing kick-off, Kyle Albertini mishandled the ball and Vancouver Island recovered at the Langley 30-yard line. Four plays later, the visitors were in the end zone and the score had gone from a three-point game to a 17-point advantage.
Langley did battle back with a better effort for the rest of the game but ultimately ran out of time.
“It was a good experience for us,” said coach Jeff Alamolhoda, adding this would hopefully teach his team that every single second counts and teams cannot afford mental lapses.
“We played great for three quarters, but (that lapse), that is the ball game right there.”
“(The Raiders) are a team that will take advantage of every mistake you make.”
Quarterback Jordan Yantz carved up the Rams secondary, throwing four touchdown passes and finishing with 370 yards passing. Langley did pick him off once, but dropped three other interceptions.
Greg Bowcott threw for 280 yards and one touchdown and one interception.
The lone touchdown pass was to Malcolm Williams, who also grabbed a two-point convert.
Daniel Xavier led all running backs with 73 yards on 14 carries for one score.
Langley’s other touchdown came from the punt return and Nick Downey, who took the kick 63 yards for the score. The touchdown was his 12th career punt return for a score, tying a Canadian Junior Football League record.
Downey nearly also scored on the game’s final play, as the Raiders missed a field goal which Downey took back 65 yards before he was taken down by the last Raiders player who saved a sure touchdown.
While never happy to lose, Alamolhoda said his team can learn from it.
“We fought right until the very end; we showed we are not going down without a fight,” he said.
Langley (5-1-1) faces a big game on Saturday in Victoria as they play the Westhore Rebels (6-1). A win would guarantee the Rams second place and a home playoff game in the semifinals.