Kamloops Broncos at Okanagan Sun

Ethan Newman looks to pass against the Kamloops Broncos at the Apple Bowl on August 3, 2019 in Kelowna.

Ah, the good ole’ days.

The Okanagan Sun head into Kamloops this afternoon for a B.C. Football Conference game against the Broncos.

The Sun (2-3) defeated Kamloops 26-3 to start the season on Aug. 3 at the Apple Bowl, and would like to recreate that victory in order to halt a three-game losing skid.

Almost everything worked well against Kamloops (0-5), and if it wasn’t for some sustained penalty trouble, the score couldn’t been much worse (for the Broncos, at least).

But coach Jamie Boreham said he’s not dwelling on what happened more than a month ago. Kamloops — despite going winless in five games — is improved since Week 1.

“They’ve played some teams tight,” he said. “They were in a shootout with Chiliwack. They’ve got some good athletes.

“We’re hoping to lock them down.”

Boreham said the Sun coaches have looked over the film from their first encounter with Kamloops from a “compare and contrast” perspective.

The Sun has reviewed the Bronco defensive strategies and compared them to film from the most recent Kamloops games. That helps shape the Sun’s offensive game plan.

As for the Sun defence, the Broncos were able to gain what little momentum they had through the running game in Week 1.

“We’ve got to shut down their running game because they’ve got a real nice back,” he said.

Kuda Murasiranwa rushed 15 times for 62 yards, including a long of 23.

That total was nearly half of the Broncos’ entire 128-yard output.

Not looking past Kamloops should be a priority, however. Six different Sun rushers combined for 285 yards along the ground.

The passing game was equally lopsided. Ten Sun receivers caught a football in Week 1 for a combined 252 yards and two major scores.

The Sun doesn’t want this afternoon to turn into a “trap game,” as the sports pundits say.

Trouble loves us

Now for the bad news. The Sun lost two starting receivers before last week’s 14-10 loss to the Langley Rams.

Javen Kaechele (concussion) is out indefinitely and Adam Burton has returned home to deal with some personal matters, the coach said. Neither should be expected back any time soon, if at all, Boreham added.

“That’s a huge speed bump, and I think our guys stepped up well,” he said.

Malcolm Miller, from out of the backfield, caught four passes for 53 yards to lead Okanagan receivers.

King Richard

At least All-Canadian candidate Conor Richard is nearing his return from a concussion Boreham said.

The veteran linebacker hasn’t played since the Sun’s 21-16 victory over the Valley Huskers in Week 2. Richard was voted the top players in the Canadian Junior Football League’s preseason players poll. Needless to say, the Sun would dearly love to have him return “the sooner the better,” Boreham said.

“I think he brings some mojo, if that’s a word any more,” the coach added. “He’s a football player.”

Rams Redux

Rather than forget what happened last week, the Sun have taken the positives from it.

The Okanagan was leading the Langley Rams 10-8 with about a minute left on the clock, but couldn’t stop a late, game-winning drive. Worse than that, a dead-ball foul for an unnecessary roughness penalty put Langley on the 1-yard line with just seconds to play.

“There’s a lot of things in that football game we can learn from,” Boreham said.

“There’s a lot to build on.”

The passing game was better, for sure. Quarterback Alex Douglas was 11-for-20 for 117 yards. While those aren’t great numbers, he didn’t throw any interceptions and it’s a vast improvement over his last outing on Vancouver Island. Douglas was 6-for-21 for 84 yards and two picks.

The running attack was also effective against the Rams, the No. 2-ranked team in Canada.

Miller ran for a 49-yard score on the Sun’s second play from scrimmage and finished the game with 72 yards on eight carries.

Taking it all in

Kickoff today is 2 p.m. at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops. The game is available online at BCFCTV.com for a fee. You can listen for free on AM1150 radio.

Elsewhere

In other Week 6 games, the 5-0 Rams are on Vancouver Island to face the Raiders (3-2). The Raiders have won three straight and one of their losses was a tough 42-30 decision in Langley. Also, the Valley Huskers (1-4) are at the Westshore Rebels (4-1).

Email: dave.trifunov@ok.bc.ca