What do delivering bone-crushing hits on a football field and eating perogies have in common ? Jack Rush never grows weary of either one.
In just a half season in the B.C. Football Conference, the Okanagan Sun newcomer has developed a reputation as a search-and-destroy safety who revels in lowering the boom on opposing receivers and running backs.
Off the field, the 20-year-old native of Niagara Falls lives steps away from Cecil’s Perogies on Richter Street in Kelowna, a local eatery he frequents on a daily basis.
“It’s amazing food, I just had four perogies and sausages,” said Rush. “I eat there pretty much every day and never get tired of it.”
Whether or not his high daily intake of carbohydrates and protein is partly responsible for his ability to punish his opponents, Sun coach Gavin Lake knows one thing for certain—the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Rush has been a welcome addition to the defense.
“Jack’s brought an enforcer mentality into our secondary,” said Lake. “Working with a bunch of young guys, he’s brought a swagger to the middle of our defense. He’s real vocal and our young guys are starting to look at him. Jack’s got great vision, he really lays the wood, and other teams are getting to know that.”
After playing the previous two seasons at Acadia University, Rush was uncertain of both his educational and football futures.
At the urging of former Sun lineman and ex-Acadia teammate Travis Miller, Rush made the big trip west this summer along with Acadia teammates Terrance Mendes, Nico Sokolowski and Evan Petrie to get their first taste of Kelowna and the BCFC.
“I had a good talk with coach Lake, I hit it off with him and decided this was where I wanted to come,” said Rush. “I’m getting a chance to see a new part of the country and I just love it here.
“We haven’t had the kind of start we wanted, but we have a young team and we’re going to keep getting better.”
While the Sun’s 1-4 record hasn’t been quite up to Rush’s or the Sun’s standard, it hasn’t prevented the Niagara Falls product from putting every ounce of energy into his position.
“I love safety because you can see the whole field and it’s like you’re coming downhill on the other guys,” Rush said. “I’d rather get the big hit than the pick because it creates energy, its sets the tone and gets your teammates pumped up. I never want to badly injure anyone, but making a big hit is really a good feeling.”
The Sun hope Rush will be in top punishing form on Saturday when the unbeaten Vancouver Island Raiders (4-0-1) visit the Apple Bowl for a 1 p.m. kick off.
The Raiders won the last meeting between clubs, 30-29 on Aug. 18 in Nanaimo.
Mraovic a Raider…
Former Sun quarterback J.J. Mraovic will be in uniform for the Raiders on Saturday afternoon.
The 22-year-old Winnipeg native, who was released by the Sun prior to the start of the BCFC season, joined Vancouver Island earlier this month and has been taking reps as a safety.
Mraovic expects an emotional return to the Apple Bowl where he’ll see plenty of familiar faces.
“Playing there for a full season and being their quarterback and being their leader, I’ll always cherish those moments…” Mraovic told the Nanaimo Bulletin. “You’ve got to move on and that’s just a way of life in football.”