To say the Okanagan Sun and Valley Huskers are headed in vastly different directions three weeks into the B.C. Football Conference season would be understating the obvious.
The Sun is 3-0 and has outscored the opposition 89-32. The Huskers, by contrast, are 0-for-3 and have scored just eight points this season while allowing 120.
With Saturday night’s meeting at the Apple Bowl between the teams deemed by most observers as a colossal mismatch, Sun head coach Ben Macauley said the message to his players needs to be simple yet focused.
“We really just have to focus on the things we need to do, just being sound on assignments, following directions and not engaging in a war of words or anything outside the play between the whistles,” said Macauley. “I have a lot of respect for (Huskers) coach (Bob) Reist and I don’t really think it’ll come to that.
“I’ve had some mentorship on that from a CFL coach, about how do you stay playing at high level where your competition maybe isn’t where you’d like it to be?” Macauley added. “It’s about focusing on the message, being positive and picking each other up to play at the level you need be at to be successful—not just in this game but in every game.”
The Sun continues to ride alone atop the BCFC thanks to a 34-17 victory over the Rams on Saturday night in Langley.
The game was tight until the fourth quarter when Okanagan struck for a pair of late touchdowns to clinch their third win in as many starts.
While the Sun coaching staff are satisfied with their club’s record, Macauley said there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
“We’re making a good effort towards becoming a complete team and playing a complete game…we’re not quite there yet,” said Macauley. “We still made some bonehead plays, there were some coverages blown, so we’ve still got along way to go.
“We’re happy to be 3-0, but we don’t want to see any dip in complacency or get too comfortable with the position we’re in. We just have to keep working on getting better and improving with each week.”
Macauley cited the continued strong play of both Cole Klughart and Mitch Lyons on the defensive line, while Conor Richard was also an imposing force on defense against the Rams.
Offensively, veteran receiver Kyler Mosley stepped up with his best game of the season catching four passes for 172 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown from Nick Wenman.
Running back Kelton Kouri also had his most productive effort with 73 yards rushing and a pair of major scores.
On the O-line, Macauley said Marshall Klein is quickly establishing himself as a player to be reckoned with.
“Marshall had a dominant game and is doing a great job, he’s really stepped in at guard and gives us stability there,” Macauley said.
With an injured Keith Zyla on the bench, third-year pivot Nick Wenman made his second straight start at quarterback for the Sun.
Macauley said Zyla is close to returning to health from a lower body and could be ready for Saturday’s game against the Huskers. If not, Wenman will get the call for the third consecutive week.