The V.I. Raiders continue to find gems from successful high school football programs on Vancouver Island.
The junior football team recently held its spring camp and had more than 60 players, with a huge number coming from Vancouver Island.
Raiders staff indicated this year’s camp had the highest turnout of Vancouver Island players in the club’s history. Most of the players came from Ballenas Secondary, John Barsby Secondary and Nanaimo District Secondary.
One of the Ballenas Whalers standouts graduating this year, Ayden Chambers, has just signed a letter of intent to play for the Raiders this coming B.C. Football Conference season.
Chambers, a running back, was the leading rusher for Ballenas last season. He would be hooking up with another former Whalers standout, Ben Chomolok, who is now being touted to inherit the quarterback duties from Jake Laberge, who has graduated from the team.
The Raiders will have a different look this year. Team coach Curtis Vizza indicated it is too soon to make any decisions on the quarterback position. Chomolok did make a good impression at spring camp.
Vizza mentioned the running backs as a potential strength area for the Raiders and the offensive line appears to be generally big and mean.
The Raiders will also have a new offensive co-ordinator, as former U Sports player Travis Gorski takes over from Colin Pippy, who will be quarterbacks coach.
Vizza said some of the changes will make for a “new and different” look for the Raiders offence.
“We’re going to play to the strengths of who we have,” he said. “After camp, when we know who we have coming, we get to look at what we have for skills and strengths and adapt and adjust to what we think will be best for what we have.”
V.I.’s defence, said the coach, has players at all positions who are fast, athletic and hungry.
The Raiders will hold main camp in early July and the BCFC season starts July 23.
— With a file from Nanaimo News Bulletin