After seven arduous weeks of rehab on his injured left knee last fall, Jonas Gering returned to the Okanagan Sun lineup just in time for the B.C. Football Conference final.
But his return didn’t go nearly as planned.
As was the case for all of his Sun teammates, a 23-19 loss last October to the Langley Rams left a bitter and lasting taste in Gering’s mouth.
This weekend, the 21-year-old veteran defensive end and the Sun will kick off the 2015 version of the team’s training camp with one goal in mind—to make amends for a disappointing end to 2014.
“That’s something none of us want to go through again,” said Gering. “We’ve spent the entire off-season building up to this and making sure we’re ready to go. I feel great about this team and the talent we have. I’m looking forward to a great year.”
Gering is among 80 players who will take to the Parkinson/Apple Bowl practise fields this Saturday and Sunday for the start of the BCFC team’s training camp.
Third-year Sun head coach Shane Beatty will look to the likes of Gering, along with fellow all-star and DB Brennan Van Nistelrooy, linebacker Lucas Machado, linemen Cliff Crew and Michele Vecchio and receiver Kyle Patchell—among others—for leadership this season as the Sun takes aim at the team’s first conference championship since 2006.
Beatty is excited about the club’s depth and skill all across the board this season, particularly along the defensive and offensive lines, and in the defensive secondary which Beatty describes as “loaded.”
With plenty of receivers in the mix and staunch corps of running back, Beatty said the team’s quarterbacking corps will have plenty of support.
Veterans Cam Bedore and Josiah Joseph will be joined by newcomer Keith Zyla from Edmonton in what Beatty expects to be a three-way tussle for playing time.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Beatty said. “All three are capable guys and have the potential to lead us.”
There are more than a handful of newcomers Beatty has high expectations for including linebacker Mike Desjarlais from the University of Saskatchewan, Kent Lawrence, a 6-foot-7 defensive end from Reedley College in California, SFU receiver Kyle Kawamoto, SFU running back JP Kalambay and Winnipeg receiver Shai Ross.
In concert with the team’s returning veterans, Beatty the 2015 Sun should be as capable as any team in the BCFC—both physically and mentally.
“The kids are more confident than they’ve been, this is a cerebral group and an excited group,” Beatty said. “We have a lot of speed, talent and depth, so we like our situation heading into the season.”
Jonas Gering, for one, couldn’t be more ready for the new campaign.
“We worked our butts off in the gym in the off-season, so our bodies are ready,” he said. “Now it’s just a matter of learning our schemes and getting our minds prepared.
“It’s time for us (to win a championship).
The Sun will work out Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 to 2 p.m. each day.
Then for the next two Saturdays, July 11 and 18, the Sun will hold controlled scrimmages.
Okanagan will open the regular season Saturday, July 25 at the Apple Bowl against the Westshore Rebels.