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Sep 2014 11

Sun Visit Raiders

Posted in Featured, Sports

For the third time this season the Sun (5-1) will battle their arch rival the Vancouver Island Raiders (3-3) on Saturday afternoon in Nanaimo.

Four weeks ago on August 16th the Sun travelled to the Island and beat the Raiders 64-20, handing the defending champs their worst loss in franchise history, while winning at Caledonia Park for the first time since 2005.

That game the offense compiled 693 yards of total offense, a far cry from their 139 last weekend against the Langley Rams at the Apple Bowl.

The Sun have won four straight, including back to back wins over the Raiders, outscoring them 102-20.  On this four game streak the Sun have pounded the opposition 187-46, not allowing a team to gain over 100 yards on the ground.  As a matter of fact the Sun defense hasn’t allowed a team to gain over 100 yards on the ground all year.  The most a team has rushed on the defense was the Raiders in Week 3 at the Apple Bowl when they collected 93.

The impressive numbers don’t stop there for the “D”.  The Sun have a Conference high 15 interceptions after recording five last week against the Rams.  Robbie Yochim has a team high three interceptions, while Dexter Janke, Landon King, Beck Fullerton and JT Fernandez have two each.

The Raiders have started to play better football, now six games into the season with a brand new coaching staff.  They have won two straight, including an emotional come from behind win at home just prior to the bye week against the Rams.  Down late in the third quarter, the Raiders rallied and beat the Rams 52-44.  Last weekend they destroyed the Valley Huskers 81-6.

Like last week the Sun will see another dangerous kick return game.  Michael Ritchott and Dustin Rodriguez are two speedsters and are as lethal as they come returning both kick offs and punts combining to return four kicks for touchdowns.  Ritchott is averaging 36.9 yards a kick-off return and has two majors in 13 returns. He also has a punt return for a touchdown. Rodriguez has brought back 14 punts for 275 yards and has a touchdown.

Speaking of Special Teams the Sun have been pretty darn good themselves.  Last week when facing the record setting Rams return game, the Sun unit held them to an average of 13.7 yards a punt return and nine yards on kick-off returns.  The CJFL record holder John Beckerleg returned four kick offs for just 36 yards thanks in large part to the coverage of Jamie Turek, who was the fastest player down the field.

Offensively the Sun will once again try and establish the run game against the Raiders defense, something they were able to do in August compiling 295 yards.  Dillon Fortune was a beast that afternoon rushing six times for 126 yards and a score.  Obviously the run game will open up the passing attack which gained 411 yards in the last meeting.   Kyle Patchell and Cam Bedore had their best junior games as Patchell hauled in eight passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns.  Bedore was 18 of 24 for 351 yards and threw four majors.

Saturday afternoon will be another big test for all three phases of the game.  Head Coach Shane Beatty will be the first to tell you it’s very difficult to beat a team three times in a season.  This club will not only look to beat the current roster of the Raiders, but will have to once again deal with the mystique of Caledonia Park, a place in which they only have two wins since 2005.

Kick-off is set for 2:00pm.

Photo courtesy of Tamiko Lyle


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