Leaving behind the residuals effects of a drubbing on their home turf may be easier said than done.
But with the playoffs beckoning, the Okanagan Sun don’t really have much time to dwell on the recent past.
On the heels of a 48-6 humbling Saturday at the hands of the Langley Rams, the Sun will look to regroup this week as they travel to Nanaimo Saturday to take on the Vancouver Island Raiders in the B.C. Football Conference semifinal.
“We’re still playing, we’re in the playoffs and that’s what’s important,” said Sun head coach Gavin Lake. “Has everything gone the way we wanted ? No, but we can get into the post-mortem when the season is over, not now. Our energies have to be 100 per cent into beating the VI Raiders, so that’s what we’re concentrating on this week.”
If there is an upside to the Sun’s seemingly desperate situation, it’s the fact that they could have just as easily won both regular season contests in Nanaimo.
Okanagan lost the two games by a combined three points and came up shy each time on failed field goal attempts in the final minute.
One place—maybe the only one—the Sun proved competitive this season it was at Caledonia Park.
“We’ve gone in there and danced with the big dogs and have only lost with two missed field goals,” Lake said. “Anything can happen in the playoffs, and we just saw that on the Prairies where the Calgary Colts went 8-0, then lost in the first game of the playoffs to Regina. The guys know they can play (in Nanaimo), so we’ll prepare and go in there ready to play.”
On Saturday at the Apple Bowl, the Sun certainly didn’t give the impression of a playoff-ready team. Okanagan had an abysmal -18 yards of total offense in the first half, while the Rams were able to run, pass and return kicks pretty much at will against the Sun on a rainy afternoon where the result was never in question.
To add injury to insult, a scary moment late in the first half saw Sun backup quarterback Austin Komonski absorb a massive hit from Rams defensive back Mick Felicella.
Komonoski remained on the field for 30 minutes before being carried off the field and taken to hospital.
The good news is, as of Monday, Komonoski was recovering well and had no concussion symptoms.
With one of the youngest rosters in recent memory, 2012 has been a trying season for the Sun who finished at 3-7, including 1-4 at home.
The only other season the Sun posted a losing record (2-5-2) was 1981, the club’s first year in the B.C. Junior Football League.
As expected, in a city where expectations are perennially high, the head coach’s future
with the Sun has, by some, been called into question.
Regardless of what fate awaits him, Lake says he has a job to do.
“I have no choice but to put everything I have into this game,” Lake said. “The season is still going and I’m not going to quit on the team. We’re going in there to try and win a football game, nothing else matters right now.”