You get the distinct impression when speaking with Cory McCoy that he has no time for awards, and that he would much rather get back to playing football.
The hulking Okanagan Sun linebacker was named the B.C. Football Conference defensive player of the week on Tuesday. He didn’t waste much time getting wrapped up in the accolade, the first of his career.
“It’s nice to get recognized for that,” he said Thursday after practice. “But, yeah, it’s a chip on my shoulder (to) keep doing my job.”
The soft-spoken, hard-hitting McCoy led the Sun defence with eight tackles and two sacks as Okanagan defeated the Valley Huskers 21-16 last weekend in Chilliwack.
The 2-0 Sun have leaned on their top-ranked defence through the first two games of the season, allowing a league-low 19 points.
“(We’re) just playing as a unit, everyone doing their job just executing plays,” said McCoy, a six-foot-four, 255-pound Kelowna product. “(We’re) a hard working, talented group of guys that just puts in the work.”
The hard work will need to continue tonight when the Westshore Rebels arrive in Kelowna.
The Rebels are also 2-0 and defeated the Huskers 21-20 to start the season.
Where Westshore may have an advantage is on the offensive side of scrimmage. The Rebels have the second-ranked attack in B.C., led by receivers Jeffroy Ojong and Brycen Mayoh.
Ojong was a beast last weekend, catching four passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns. His longest was 93 yards. Mayoh is more workmanlike. He’s hauled in nine passes for 93 yards and a TD this season.
Running back Zachary Lubin is no slouch either, having rushed for 148 yards and two majors through two games.
“They bring an explosive offence,” Sun safety Garret Cape said.
“We’ve got to be a sound defence. … They’re a good team.”
Even though the Sun defence looks impenetrable on paper, head coach Jamie Boreham wants more. He’s seen mistakes and he knows opposing teams are seeing them, too. Some of that might be conditioning and early season gaffes, he said, but they’re still mistakes that must be corrected.
“We’re close, on a lot of levels, to some good football,” Boreham said. “But it’s not where we want it to be.”
One area of concern was relying too heavily on defensive backs to make stops. If your DBs are your leading tacklers, that means the opposition’s ball carriers are breaking through your defensive line and your linebackers.
Cape said the team is still finding its way early in the season.
“We’re all trying to fit into our roles,” the Prince George native said, “knowing our jobs a little bit better.”
They’ve been using practice this week to fine-tune their approach. For Boreham, it’s all about ones: one step for one play for one set of downs over one quarter of one game.
“We’re getting better every day,” Boreham said. “We just demand a certain standard. We’re not going to say, ‘Well, you got close and that’s OK.’ You got close? Well, that’s not where it’s supposed to be, so lets fix it.”
SUN SPOTS — Kickoff is 7 p.m. at the Apple Bowl. … The Sun is asking fans to bring food bank donations. Minor football players in uniform and parents with a food donation are free. … Elsewhere, the Kamloops Broncos (0-2) face the V.I. Raiders (0-2) while the Langley Rams (2-0) meet the Valley Huskers (0-2).