One of the most intriguing competitions in the 2015 B.C. Football Conference this season might not be between two rival teams.
Perhaps it will be for the No. 1 quarterbacking job with the Okanagan Sun.
The most veteran and incumbent among the team’s pivots is Cam Bedore, 22, who is entering his fifth and final season of junior football.
But the W.J. Mouat grad fully expects to be pushed again by Josiah Joseph, 19, the second-year pivot out of Mt. Boucherie who gained some valuable playing experience in 2014.
Rounding out the QB corps are two 19-year-old rookies, Keith Zyla and Nick Wenman, who are coming off knee injuries last season and are anxious to get their junior football careers started.
Sun QB coach Greg Patchell likes what all four pivots bring to the position, but as the most experienced twosome, Bedore and Joseph are the logical frontrunners for the No. 1 job.
“Both are good athletes,” Patchell said of Bedore and Joseph. “Cam has been around the program, he’s experienced and he’s well respected by all the guys. Josiah is a very good quarterback and is going to have a bright future.
“We have a fabulous group of receivers and athletes on offense, so it’s going to be a matter of who shows the most composure, trust and confidence,” Patchell added, “and which guy can take carry that into a game situation the best.”
Still, the Sun isn’t discounting the possibility of using Zyla, who was an all-star in his final season of high school football in St. Albert, AB. Born in Florida before moving to Edmonton as a teenager, Zyla brings a unique skill set to the position.
“He’s a big, tall fast kid with a strong arm, very athletic, he runs options and stretch plays well,” Patchell said. “We’ll put a package in that matches his skill set and we’ll be prepared to use him.”
As for Wenman, Patchell said the Cold Lake, AB product is eager to learn.
“He’s a smart kid with a nice arm. Nick has recognized he’s here to develop and learn. He’s going to be an important part of our group and a key guy down the road.”
From Cam Bedore’s perspective, it all adds up to some healthy competition and in turn, positive residuals on the field.
“All the guys are young and talented and I think they’re all going be huge assets,” said Bedore. “I’m just treating each day like another work day, I just have to go out and do what I can do.
“Everybody wants to play and they’re going to have a lot of weapons around them on the offense,” added Bedore. “If it’s me, great…if not I’m prepared to fill whatever role the coaches ask.”
With Bedore sidelined by injury late last season, Joseph stepped in and started three games for the Sun, winning all of them.
A year older and wiser, Joseph feels better prepared for his second go-round but knows competition will be stiff and playing time will have to be earned.
“Competition makes us all better, we’re all good friends, close knit guys, we like each other so we welcome it,” said Joseph, who completed 50 of 84 passes last season.
“The game has started to slow down for me a bit (from last year), practising against our defense every day, you can’t help but improve. Cam has helped me out a lot, too.
“But whatever happens, whoever plays, the rest of us are going to be cheering him on.”
The 6-foot-3 1/2 Zyla, who spent the off-season rehabbing his knee in Kelowna, is excited to be in the mix and hopes to make the most of the opportunity.
“I’m just happy to be able to come back and play this year and be getting an opportunity from (Shane) to show what I can do,” said Zyla, 19. “It is a competition…we all look to Cam, he’s a fifth-year guy, Josiah is a tall, smart quarterback, and Nick is a good young player, too.
“Whoever the coaches choose, it’s what’s best for the team that matters most.”
Wenman, who underwent surgery last July to repair a torn ACL, is content with his place on the depth chart and is just happy to be back playing football again—particularly on a team with as much talent as the Sun.
“I know I’m the fourth guy and I’m good with that,” said Wenman. “I’m on a learning curve right now, my goal is to pick up the playbook as fast as I can and just get better everyday. To be with three other good quarterbacks and good guys like they are is a nice opportunity for me.”
The Sun will open the 2015 BCFC regular season on Saturday, July 25 at the Apple Bowl against the Westshore Rebels.