The Comox Valley Raiders Junior Bantam football team came away from Nanaimo with their first win of the season, by a score of 19-14.
In a hard-fought battle there we many notable performances. The hometown Lions came out showing intent to run the ball, but had no joy up the middle as Hannah Bourbyn stuffed every attempt, often taking on two, or even three, blockers at nose tackle. This was to be a pattern for the game.
However the Lions broke a quarterback keeper to the outside to take the lead. The determined Raiders came back with a long and controlled drive, where the offensive line of Sam Ezzy, Mark Biollo, Kai Hughes, Duncan Whetter, and Lexie Munro opened up hole after hole.
Jayce Osadiuk took advantage of the blocking and powered several runs up the middle and was the workhorse of a strong offensive performance throughout the afternoon.
In the second quarter Drew Wootton ran the ball in from seven yards out. The half ended with the Raiders down 8-7 after both teams stood firm on defence.
Undaunted by the deficit, the Raiders opened the second half as they started in the the first, controlling the ball on offence. This time the drive was finished with a 17-yard run from Wootton, after excellent set-up play again from Osadiuk. The Raiders failed to convert this time.
The Lions showed good spirit and came straight back with a TD of their own to retake the lead 14-13. But the Raiders stopped the extra point and scored from the ensuing kick-off with a 55 yard return from a squib kick for Wootton’s third TD of the game.
The Raiders defence then put a clamp on the game, with an exceptional strip tackle from Ethan Braun on a key third down that gave possession back to the silver and black. The Raiders offence was able to move the chains, retain possession and run out the clock for a well-deserved win.
“The game was played in an excellent sporting manner by both teams, and the Nanaimo Lions were excellent hosts,” a Raiders spokesperson said.
The Junior Bantam Raiders host the Victoria Renegades this Saturday, Oct. 1 with kick-off time 1 p.m. at Bill Moore Memorial Park.