V.I. Raiders lineman Quinton Clarke

V.I. Raiders lineman Quinton Clarke

Main camp meant to overwhelm V.I. Raiders

Nanaimo’s Canadian Junior Football League team holds its five-day main camp at Port Alberni starting Thursday (July 26).

The next few days are going to be all football, all the time. And that’s fine by the V.I. Raiders.

Nanaimo’s Canadian Junior Football League team holds its five-day main camp at Port Alberni’s Bob Dailey Stadium starting Thursday (July 26).

It’s a grind, as players immerse themselves in the playbook and test the limits of their bodies with two-a-day practices.

“It’s fun. I have a blast when I go there,” said Tyler Oldendorf, Raiders offensive lineman. “Yeah, it’s hard work, but it’s all good team bonding.”

If players aren’t sore when they limp off the field at the end of the day at main camp, they probably aren’t doing it right.

“I wouldn’t say we dread [main camp], but us vets know what it entails, that’s for sure,” said Tremaine Apperley, defensive back. “As much as it is a grind, it’s a lot of fun to be there. It’s a love-hate relationship.”

Matthew (Snoop) Blokker, Raiders coach, said main camp brings a team together because players see that no matter where they’re from, or whether they’re a rookie or a veteran, they’re all being asked to meet the same challenge.

“It is going to be tiring and it’s going to be mentally a struggle, as well,” Blokker said. “We try to put as much on them as we possibly can and it is overwhelming. But if we can get through that and be prepared, then why can’t we be prepared in the fourth quarter to win the game?”

GAME ON … The V.I. Raiders start the Canadian Junior Football League season Aug. 4 in Victoria with a 7 p.m. game against the Westshore Rebels. The Raiders’ home opener will be Aug. 11 at 5 p.m. at Caledonia Park against the Langley Rams. For season ticket information, please visit www.viraiders.ca. To read last week’s article on the team, please click here.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com