For the better part of eight seasons, the Vancouver Island Raiders had the Okanagan Sun’s number.
In recent times, however, the Sun has made substantial progress in reversing that trend.
Since losing at Caledonia Park in September 2013, the Sun has beaten its Nanaimo-based rivals four consecutive times.
Shane Beatty’s unbeaten crew will be looking to make it five in a row on Sunday afternoon when the Raiders make their only visit of the regular season to the Apple Bowl.
The Sun was a convincing winner in the first meeting of 2015, taking the Raiders out 27-3 on Aug. 8 in Nanaimo.
Okanagan (6-0) has bulldozed its way through the BCFC schedule, outscoring its opponents 319-36, while the Raiders, who are in a semi-rebuilding mode, sit at 4-2.
Still, based on a history of intense games and the rivalry between the two sides, veteran Kyle Patchell said the Sun can take nothing for granted in their preparations for the Raiders.
“We always have battles with Nanaimo,” said Patchell, a fifth-year receiver with the Sun. “Even with the scores, we haven’t had an easy game with them. They’re super physical and always play us tough.
“With us beating them last time,” added Patchell, “they’re going to come out with a chip on their shoulder. They’re also in a fight for second place, so we have to be ready for a good game from them.”
The Sun—and the rest of the BCFC—is coming off a bye week so will be well rested and relatively healthy for the stretch run of the regular season.
Okanagan’s finest moments of 2015 to date came right before the break with a 52-10 pummelling of the defending champion Langley Rams.
And while the Sun has had few complaints to this point in their season, Patchell said the team continues to strive to get better on a weekly basis.
“It was nice to end off with a win like that over Langley, so it was a nice break for us,” he said. “But we still have lots to work on. We haven’t actually played a complete game yet, so that’s what we’re aiming for. Even in big wins, we’ve had good quarters and good halves, but not a whole game.
“We’re excited to get back at it and see it we can put it all together for 60 minutes.”
The Sun and Raiders will kick off Sunday’s game at 1 p.m.