Westshore Rebels QB Colby Henkel (No. 2 in white) evades the pass rush pressure of Tyrese Viner-Cox (No. 14), James Moar (No. 52) and Brendan Desjardine (No. 9) during last season's B.C. Football Conference season opener at Exhibition Stadium. The 2020 campaign is up in the air thanks to COVID-19. (Chilliwack Progress file photo)

Valley Huskers ready to roll if B.C. Football Conference season goes ahead

The junior football team is in COVID-19 limbo with the fate of the 2020 campaign in doubt

The Valley Huskers are in an uncertain spot thanks to COVID-19, unsure whether or not the 2020 B.C. Football Conference season will happen.

Normally at this time of the year the junior football team has wrapped up training camp, and this time last season one game was already in the books.

Huskers bench boss Bob Reist has been full speed ahead with preseason prep assuming games will be played.

“Certainly this year is different from any year in the past, but as far as our preparation, it hasn’t changed much,” Reist said. “We go through the offseason recruiting, and everything went as normal with that. Now it’s just kind of a waiting game, preparing our team and organization to be ready when the time comes.”

Once (if) the league gets the green light to play, Reist doesn’t expect his team to have a long runway before opening week.

“It’ll be a thing where we need to be ready to go right now, and that’s been our approach through this whole thing,” he noted.

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There won’t be time for players to play their way into shape, if they haven’t been diligent with offseason training.

There won’t be time for new players to acclimate, and get comfortable with systems and plays before live bullets fly.

“They have work-out plans and we’re checking in and making sure they’re doing that,” Reist said. “The local guys are doing their workouts together, following the COVID spacing standards the gyms have put in place.

“The unknown is more with the new kids and the young recruits we have coming in from different areas.”

The Huskers usually run with a younger roster, which would make this extra daunting. But Reist said this year’s team has enough returning players to hit the ground running.

“We do traditionally have a high turnover rate, and we will again this year, but the thing about our veteran core is, for the first time, that group that we’re going to lean on knows our system,” Reist said. “They are guys who’ve been with our program for three or four years now. They know what the coaching staff expects.”

With U-Sports pulling the plug on the 2020 fall season, which means cancelling football, Reist and other BCFC talent evaluators have been presented with the opportunity to lure university-calibre players.

If the BCFC goes ahead with any sort of season, there could be a last-minute influx of higher-end players.

“You’ve got a lot of athletes that want to play football, but you’ve also got the U-Sports teams keeping guys around for practices and stuff, so it’s not quite wide open,” Reist observed. “That said, we have a bunch of conversations with guys who are waiting to see if we’ll have a season, and if we go ahead we’ll have four university players that we’re allowed to sign.”


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