Three Comox Valley Raiders were in action Saturday, March 21 at the 2015 Senior Bowl at Langley’s McLeod Stadium.
The game features the top graduating Grade 12 players from the BC High School Football Association and the BC Community Football Association.
Linebacker Conor MacNeil was on Team Yamaoka (coached by Brad Yamaoka of the Kamloops Broncos) while receiver Arron Slack and offensive lineman Tristan Thies Erickson lined up for Team Beatty (coached by Shane Beatty of the Okanagan Sun).
Team Yamaoka scored majors on their first drive and their final drive of the opening half of play en route to a 22-7 victory over Team Beatty.
The trio of talented locals attended a camp that opened Tuesday at the BC Lions’ training facility in Surrey. The players were split into two teams during a draft held on Wednesday. The camp ran through to Friday.
The annual Senior Bowl camp is a by-invitation camp featuring the top amateur football players in the province that will be graduating from high school in June 2015. One of the highlights was Thursday afternoon’s Practice with the Pros when several BC Lions will be sharing tricks of the trade.
“I am pretty proud of the boys,” said Raiders Midget head coach Ryan Pederson. “All three are essential players on the team and will be coming back to play for us in their final season coming up.”
“Conor is one hard-hitting, fast-running individual, willing to do whatever is asked. Playing receiver/running back and linebacker and special teams, he contributed greatly on both sides of the ball,” Pederson said.
“He usually has someone’s back every play on either side of the ball and is of course one of our key players. Despite his lack of size and weight he plays a lot bigger than he looks,” Pederson said of the 6′-3″, 170-pound player.
“Arron also plays on both sides of the ball. As a receiver he made multiple receptions with great blocking skills on run plays. Also a key player on defence at the defensive back position, he rarely slipped up or made any mistakes and was able to get interceptions in key moments,” the coach noted.
“Tristan is a key member of our offensive line, standing in at 6′-7” and 305 pounds – I geared him up for Senior Bowl Monday night and I swear he has gotten bigger – he is quite the wall and with the rest of our O-line allows us to play the hard-running style that we do.
“We started playing him a little on the defensive line later in the season and he excelled at getting into the backfield. Unfortunately, he broke the growth plate off the bottom of his femur and missed the last couple of games. But the fact he is up and running and at the Senior Bowl shows his resolve and dedication,” Pederson said.
Slack and MacNeil, along with five other teammates, will also be representing the Raiders at the April 25 Starbowl in Chilliwack. Joining them will be Brayden Sherwood, Devan Moore, Jimmy Brazier, Duncan Simpson and Wesley Yates.
The Starbowl features the best players of the Valley Community Football League and the Vancouver Mainland Football League in both the Midget and Bantam divisions.
SIDELINES Registration is underway for Raiders Spring Fundamental Football for ages 8-10 and 11-13 (April 14 to June 21) and the two-day Spring Game Ready Camp in May for ages 12-18 … visit the club’s website comoxvalleyraiders.com or the CRA Lewis Centre to get in the game …