Sun battle Rams in first-place showdown
On paper, it might be the best matchup the B.C. Football Conference has to offer: The explosive, quick-hitting offense of the Langley Rams against the stingy, hard-hitting defense of the Okanagan Sun.
The two forces will collide for the second time this season, as the Sun and Rams—both at 4-1—meet Saturday night at the Apple Bowl in a battle for top spot.
The Rams, who put up an even 70 last weekend against Kamloops, lead the BCFC with 266 points scored this season.
The Sun defense has yielded a conference-low 76 points—or just 15 per game.
"It's going to be a great matchup," said Sun defensive coordinator Nathan Mollard.
"It's the situation you want, to be going up against the best, or at least statistically the best offense in the conference. Our defense is excited and ready for the challenge."
The Sun dropped the first meeting between the two rivals, 33-20 back on Aug. 2 in Langley.
But now the ball is in Okanagan's court as the two remaining games between the teams will be played at the Apple Bowl.
And with four of the last five games on home turf, the Sun can take charge of its own destiny.
"We're excited to play them, there's still a bitter taste in our mouths from that first loss in Langley," said Mollard. "Playing them twice at home now, with our hometown fans and the atmosphere, that's something we need to take advantage of. If pull this one off, then we're good shape, especially with all the home games we have left."
While much has been made of the Rams' offense this season, the Sun has proven to be no slouch when it comes to finding the opposition's end zone.
Okanagan has erupted for 156 points in its last three outings, while racking up more than 1,500 yards in total offense.
The only mediocre effort came in the first meeting against the Rams when the Sun managed a season-low 20 points.
However, the Okanagan offence has since kicked its game into high gear, a trend receiver Kyle Patchell no doubt hopes to see continue on Saturday night.
"For how poorly we played on offence that day, we really weren't that far off from making some big plays and scoring a lot more points," said Patchell, who has 11 catches for 253 three yards and three touchdowns this season. "We made a ton of adjustments after that game and changed some things, our run and pass games are working well, so hopefully we can carry that momentum into Saturday."
And while the regular season is far from over, Patchell agrees a victory this weekend would be a big step in the right direction.
"Right now it's in our hands," said Patchell, who has 11 catches for 253 three yards and three touchdowns this season. "If we continue to win week to week, then we can take care of things down the stretch.
"We're a week to week team, that's the way we prepare, but it's nice for us to have a chance to control our own destiny."
Kick off Saturday night at the Apple Bowl between the Sun and Rams is 7 p.m.