Rams wrestle to tough victory over visiting Raiders

Two monster special teams plays proved to be the difference for the Langley Rams at McLeod Stadium late Saturday afternoon, when they opened their B.C. Football Conference season against their rival VI Raiders.

Powered by a fantastic start that saw them jump ahead 30-14 by the halftime break, the Rams held on for a 44-36 victory in a rematch of the 2013 Cullen Cup (BCFC) final.

Two of the Rams’ touchdowns in the first half came via special teams.

The Raiders were poised to make a field goal from 17 yards out but the snap sailed past the holder and over kicker Matias Bueno’s head. After Beuno raced back to retrieve the ball, he was tackled hard to the ground by Langley’s Ben Sharpe.

The hit jarred loose the ball, which was picked up by Steven Martinez, who carried it 70 yards to paydirt.

The second big special teams play came when kickoff returner John Beckerleg scampered 90 yards for a touchdown.

Beckerleg also picked off a pass attempt from Raiders quarterback Liam O’Brien, and took the ball back 84 yards for six points.

Also scoring touchdowns for the Rams – who racked up 17 of their 44 points during the second quarter – were receivers Malcolm Williams and Tore Corrado.

The right foot of Rams’ kicker Steve Thomas added three field goals and five singles to Langley’s totals.

The visitors from Nanaimo had a strong finish, scoring a pair of touchdowns before running out of time.

Running back Nathan Berg scored three of VI’s touchdowns on the day. O’Brien and receiver Marshall Cook accounted for the other Raiders’ majors.

O’Brien had a good day despite the interception, completing 24 of 37 passes for 306 yards and a touchdown.

He was locked in on Cook, who made 14 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown.

Meanwhile, Langley quarterback Dylan Tucker was good on 13 of 20 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown. Two of Tucker’s pass attempts were picked off.

His favourite target was Corrado, who hauled in seven passes for 122 yards.

The Rams will look to go 2-0 on the season this Saturday, Aug. 2, when they host the Okanagan Sun at McLeod Stadium. Opening kickoff is 7 p.m.

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