Raiders end Langley Rams win streak

For the first time this season, the Langley Rams have tasted defeat.

And they did so on a football field where plenty of teams have lost their bearings over the years.

The defending B.C. Football Conference champion Vancouver Island Raiders, who have won many a lopsided affair at Caledonia Park in Nanaimo, ended the Rams’ early season win streak.

The Raiders (2-3) piled up more than 50 points on the previously undefeated Rams during a 52-44 victory.

After three straight victories to open the season, including a 75-16 blowout of the host Westshore Rebels on Aug. 16, the Rams suffered their first loss of 2014.

The Raiders’ Michael Ritchott feasted on the Rams.

Ritchott scored three touchdowns in the first half – including two on kick returns – to help lift the Raiders to victory.

After returning the opening kickoff 105 yards to pay dirt, the Winnipeg native was far from finished.

A pass from quarterback Liam O’Brien, one of three receptions for the running back, led to a 14-0 Raiders lead.

Ritchott, who was named the “BC Lions Special Teams Player of the Week” for his performance, set new Canadian Junior Football League record by returning two kick-offs over 100 yards for touchdowns.

On the heels of his game-opening touchdown return, he followed up with a 108 yard return in the second quarter.  

This marks the first time in CJFL history a player has accomplished this feat.

In total, he returned four kicks for 268 yards, which is tied for third in CJFL history. His average return was 67 yards, second most in CJFL history.

The Rams also had trouble containing Raiders quarterback Liam O’Brien and his receivers. O’Brien completed 17 of his 26 pass attempts for 336 yards and three touchdowns to Marshall Cook, Arthur Fabbro, and Pitchott.

Scoring majors on the ground for the Raiders was Taylor Flavel, from near the goal-line, and Dustin Rodriguez.

Ritchott’s fantastic day only slightly overshadowed another eye-popping performance from Rams returner John Beckerleg.

In the first quarter Beckerleg set a new single season CJFL record with his fourth kick-off return for a touchdown.  

He rambled 78 yards for the record setting major.  

In total Beckerleg returned six kicks for 258 yards, third most in BCFC history behind Ritchott.

Beckerleg has returned 618 yards through the first four games of the season, which has set a new Rams record.

Meanwhile, Rams rookie quarterback Dylan Tucker competed 14 of 29 pass attempts for 188 yards, and connected with receivers Daniel English and Kyle Pich for touchdowns.

On the ground, Jordan Traversy made the most of each time he touched the ball, with four carries for 50 yards and a touchdown.

Tucker also ran the ball in for a touchdown.

Kicker Steve Thomas, who has been money all season for the Rams, was good on two of four field goal attempts.

The Rams will look to return to their winning form this Sunday, Aug. 31, when they host the 3-1 Kamloops Broncos at McLeod Stadium.

Opening kickoff is 7 p.m.

 â€“ With files from the Nanaimo Daily News and the B.C. Football Conference website, bcjuniorfootball.ca.

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