The Langley Rams had to dig themselves out of a hole last weekend in Nanaimo.
And they can thank in part their star kicker for doing some of the spade work early on.
The Rams trailed the host Vancouver Island (V.I.) Raiders 14-0 in the first quarter of Saturday’s junior football match-up at Caledonia Park, before racking up 29 unanswered points in a 29-14 victory.
The win improves the Rams’ record to 4-1.
They sit tied for second with the Westshore Rebels (also 4-1) in the B.C. Football Conference standings.
The Rams’ opponent this Saturday at McLeod Stadium, the Okanagan Sun, remain unbeaten with a 5-0 mark.
Versus the Raiders, Langley kicker Tiernan Docherty handled a heavy workload, launching 15 punts that averaged 32.5 yards each along with five kickoffs averaging 53.6 yards apiece.
He was also good on both of his field goal attempts while booting three converts.
Docherty put his team on the board late in the opening frame with a 33-yard field goal to stop the bleeding and start the Rams on their comeback trail.
For his efforts, Docherty earned the BCFC Special Teams Player of the Week award for the third time this season.
The Rams collectively showed grit in downing a Raiders team that entered the game with a 2-2 record.
After Docherty’ field goal, a big punt return by Nick Agnoletto set up Jordan Fox’s one yard touchdown dive to make the score 14-10 midway through the second.
Discipline was a factor for Langley in the opening 30 minutes and untimely penalties killed a couple of Rams drives and extended several of the Raiders. It appeared that John Beckerleg had put the Rams up 17-14 on a spectacular 60 yard punt return late in the half but an errant flag negated the play.
The Rams went into the second half trailing 14-12 but before junior football fans at Caledonia Park could finish their half time hotdogs, the score was 22-14 for the visitors. Rams quarterback Colby Peters moved the ball to the Raiders 10 yard line on the opening possession of the half but the Rams settled for a 17 yard field goal by Tiernan Docherty to make the score 15-14 Rams.
A key play came midway through the game when linebacker Isaiah Stewart put a big hit on Raiders quarterback Kevin Chopek at V.I.’s 40 yard line. The hit was so intense that it forced the ball out and backwards 10 yards. Brendan Desjardine picked up the loose ball at the Raiders 30 yard line and took it all the way to what used to be the Pirate Ship end-zone for a touchdown.
Suddenly the score was 22-14 for Langley just two minutes into the third quarter, and the Rams defence shut the door from there.
Strong defensive play and untimely penalties kept both teams from scoring until Peters hit Khalik Johnson with a 35 yard touchdown pass to make the score 29-14 with two minutes to play to cap the game’s scoring.
The Rams’ showdown with the Sun kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday.
– Files from Chris Swartz, Rams Media