The Nanaimo Redmen made things a lot more difficult for themselves than they should have been on Sunday afternoon in Surrey against the White Rock South Surrey Titans (2-6-0).
The Redmen escaped with a 7-0 win in what was supposed to be the easiest game left on their Vancouver Mainland Football League schedule.
The score is flattering for the Titans as the Redmen were able to move the ball well until they hit the red zone, but had great difficulty punching it in from there.
In the end, they needed a gamesaving tackle from Jonah Wassel in the final minute to even emerge with the victory.
"I'm very disappointed with the game, because it was an execution thing," said head coach Sean Roden. "We played well between the 20s, but that doesn't get it done, we need to score."
Payton Paladini had the Redmen's only touchdown on a 10-yard pass from Austin Lyle, but scoring was a struggle beyond that. They were their own worst enemies with penalties and even a field goal that hit the upright.
The most painful error came on an interception returned for a touchdown by Marcus Severe, but was called back on an infraction.
Then with time ticking off, the Titans hit on an 80-yard passing play that would have tied the game if Wassel - their regular starting quarterback who spent the game at safety - hadn't chased the receiver down inside Nanaimo's 10-yard line.
Defence continues to carry the banged up Redmen, who started the game with 20 healthy bodies then lost four more through the course of the game. They should be back up to at least 20 games for this weekend.
"Some of the coaches around the league have told me our team plays with more heart than any other team in the league," said Roden. "I totally buy that and I'm super proud of it because that's a character thing."
Rookie running back Jake Borserio had another big game and continues to impress Roden. They will need him at his best for their final two games of the season.
They host the No. 2 Cowichan (8-1-0) on Sunday at 2 p.m. and then the No. 1 Langley Stampeders (8-0-0) on Nov. 10 at 1:30 p.m. If the Redmen win both games they will finish as the top seed for VMFL playoffs.
"I would be exceedingly happy if we were to split those games," said Roden. "You want to go into every game thinking you're going to win, but we're so beat up that we just want to survive those games and secure a home playoff date."
NDSS Islanders earn silver at Duncan tourney
The Nanaimo District Secondary School Islanders senior boys won silver at a tournament at Duncan Christian School on Saturday.
The AA varsity Islanders fell 2-0 (25-22, 25-17) to AAA varsity Belmont in the final. NDSS' Kishan Parhar was named tournament MVP while Riley Kazanowski was named to the tournament all-start team.
NDSS went into the weekend ranked fourth in the province in AA volleyball.
Bantam Tier 3 Clippers sweep home weekend
The Nanaimo Bantam Tier 3 Clippers won both of their games at the Nanaimo Ice Centre this weekend.
Andrew Yurkiw scored four times to lead Nanaimo to an 11-2 win over Alberni Valley on Saturday. Cole Amado also added two goals and Cole Ford, Tim Holyk, Myles Scolamiero, Brayden Trunbull and Michael Schnablegger one each for the Clippers. Ryan Board made 20 saves for the win. Hunter White and Connor Sabiston replied for Alberni and Tristan Moore allowed all 11 goals on 35 shots.
Their second game came right down to the wire, as Yurkiw scored the winner off a faceoff with 2.3 seconds left in the game to beat Comox 3-2. It was Yurkiw's second goal of the game while Amado got the other. Fraser Neal made 18 saves for the win.
Kevin Franceschini and Jordan Neufeld scored for Comox.
U-16 Storm fall to Fuel
The Upper Island Storm fell 2-0 to the Lower Island Bays Fuel in Vancouver Island Premier League U-16 girls soccer action on Saturday in Saanich.
Emily Foster-Coull scored twice on Storm goalie Grace Yacoboski in the first half to carry the Fuel to the win. Andrea Pallatt earned the shutout for Lower Island.
Up next for the Storm is a road game to Comox to play the Upper Island Riptide.
Send all scores and schedules to sports editor Josh Aldrich at Jaldrich@nanaimodailynews.com. or email@example.com or phone 250-729-4243
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