Kelton Kouri and the Okanagan Sun are in no position to take anyone for granted, even the struggling Valley Huskers.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t make predictions ahead of their B.C. Football Conference game on Sunday at the Apple Bowl.
“I just feel like it’s going to be a show this weekend,” said Kouri, whose 441 rushing yards is second in the BCFC.
The Okanagan surely needs something to get excited about for the home fans. The Sun (3-3) are mired in the middle of the conference with four games to play, and haven’t won at home since week 1 against the Kamloops Broncos.
The Sun and Vancouver Island Raiders are tied for third, looking up at the Westshore Rebels (5-1) and Langley Rams (6-0).
The Huskers (1-5) are desperate for victories to stay relevant.
The last time the Okanagan and Huskers met — Aug. 10 in Chilliwack — the Sun escaped with a 21-16 victory. It was the defence that bailed them out, late.
But those numbers don’t mean anything to Sun coach Jamie Boreham anymore.
“They’re a good team,” he said. “They’ve ended up on the wrong side of some scores. They’ve got good offensive players. They’ve got a good defence. They don’t give up a lot.
“They’ll challenge our defence on that side of the ball. We’re going to have to come out guns-a-blazing, playing some really good football.”
Receiver Brandon Poulin is by far the Huskers’ biggest threat. He’s scored five touchdowns and a two-point conversion to sit sixth in league scoring.
Poulin also leads the BCFC in receiving with 479 yards through the air.
On defence, Desmond Jeanson is a ball hawk in the backfield and has intercepted three passes.
Valley’s biggest problem has been giveaways. The Husker are last in B.C. with a minus-9 differential.
Kouri said the Sun must exploit the Huskers’ “mediocre” defence while trying to contain their dangerous offence.
“They’re not a team to hold lightly, though, either,” he said. “They’re coming here to beat us out. They’ve got to win to make a playoff spot. We’re pretty much doing the same thing.”
The coaching staff is preparing for a Huskers team that will try to disrupt Sun quarterback Alex Douglas and the offence.
“They send pressure, so we’ll have to pick up their pressure and react to that,” Boreham said. “Our success has been running the football, that’s No. 1. We have to make sure we can establish the run game, which will give us a little bit more time.”
Kouri said the Sun needs to be ready for the Huskers this weekend, unlike their last meeting.
“We weren’t mentally prepared as an offence,” he said, “to come in and play them. ... I feel like it’s going to be a huge difference from the first game we played them.”
The Sun is coming off a 38-9 win over the Broncos in Kamloops last week, and another win would put them over the .500 mark and connect two victories for the first time since week 2 of the season.
Boreham said he’s hoping for more from everyone on his club, and has tailored practice to force the Sun players to handle all situations come Sunday.
“We’re trying to get comfortable being uncomfortable,” Boreham said. “We’re putting them in more difficult situations and having them react to it, to get through it without panicking.”
Kickoff on Sunday is 1 p.m.