Photo by Jay Stevenson

The VI Raiders are once again British Columbia Football Conference champions. The Raiders defeated the Langley Rams 48-37 at Caledonia Park in Nanaimo. The BCFC championship is the seventh for the team in its last eight seasons.

The Raiders’ first game of the playoffs was October 12 against the Kamloops Broncos, who were playing in their first ever BCFC playoff game. Kamloops finished the season in fourth place with a record of 2-7-1. The outcome of the game was never in doubt, as the Raiders scored a touchdown on their first possession and never looked back. The Raiders led 14-0 after the first quarter and opened a commanding 42-0 by halftime. From there, the Raiders cruised to the 63-7 victory and a rematch against the defending champion Langley Rams.

Win or lose, October 19 was going to be the last game played at Caledonia Park this season. The 2013 BCFC championship game was the third meeting in a row between these two powerhouses in the league championship. The Raiders got on the board early in the game as Ryan Jones kicked a 29 yard field goal to make it 3-0. The Raiders led 10-3 at the end of the first quarter and looked to be in control with a 24-8 lead at halftime. The Raiders extended their lead to 31-8 early in the third before Langley finally found their game.

Langley managed 463 yards of total offense in the second half, which was more than the Raiders had all day. The Rams managed to cut the Raider lead to 41-29 with six minutes left in the fourth. The Rams had the ball deep in the Raider red zone, but a costly interception by quarterback Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren, his fourth of the afternoon, led directly to a 72 yard interception return touchdown by Ariel Fabbro, which made the score 48-29 and put the game out of their reach. The game ended with a final score of 48-37.

The BCFC champion Raiders still have some work to do if they want to be named Canadian Champions. First up for the Raiders is the game against the Ontario Football Conference champion Windsor AKO Fratmen, who defeated the Hamilton Hurricanes in the OFC championship game. The two teams will meet October 26 in Windsor. The winner of that game will move on to play the champion of the Prairie Football Conference, which consists of teams from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba in the Canadian Championship. The Canadian Championship will be played November 9 at the home of the Prairie conference team.

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