The Okanagan Sun coaching staff had a hunch linebacker Ron Mwamba might turn out to be a blue-chip recruit for the BCFC club.
Nine games into his tenure with the Sun, the 6-foot, 220-pound Edmonton product has lived up to all expectations.
Mwamba was one of three Sun standouts to earn BCFC player of the week recognition, following a dominant performance on Sunday against the Langley Rams.
Mwamba was named the defensive player of the week, running back Alex Bradley garnered offensive player honours, while Robbie Yochim was the special teams player of the week award for the second consecutive time.
Mwamba, who played last season for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, had a monster game in his team’s 37-20 victory at the Apple Bowl, recording a fumble recovery, an interception, six solo tackles, three assists and a knockdown.
Head coach Shane Beatty said once Mwamba found his comfort zone in the Sun’s defensive system, he’s been a force to be reckoned with.
“Ron got off to a bit of a slow start, but we knew he was going to be a heck of a football player for us,” said Beatty. “He’s a silent leader, and what he did out there against Langley was off the top of the charts. It’s a blessing for us to have him in our lineup and he’s really become a dominant player.”
Beatty and Sun defensive coordinator Nathan Mollard recruited both Mwamba and safety Dexter Janke aggressively—teammates with the U of S Huskies—during the off-season and the residuals have been more than satisfactory in both cases.
From Mwamba’s perspective, moving to Kelowna for his last year of junior football turned out to be the ideal decision.
“It’s been great, I’ve bought into the whole family theme and it’s turned out even better than I expected,” Mwamba said. “I love this place. I had never been to Kelowna before camp, now I’m sold on it.”
As for his progress on the football field, Mwmaba credits the Sun coaching staff with pushing him to become a more complete player.
“Coach Beatty has helped me expand my football horizons,” Mwamba said. “He’s showed me some tricks, I’m making my reads better, just playing the game more without thinking about it. I’d say I’m better all-around because of what I’ve learned.”
Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball, veteran running back Alex Bradley earned his first BCFC player of the week honours.
The 22-year-old Edmonton native rushed for 154 yards and 20 carries, scoring a touchdown on a 50-yard run as the Sun secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
While Bradley was pleased with his own performance, he was even happier the Sun was able to land its first BCFC regular season title since 2009.
“It means a lot to every guy on this team, we’re one big family,” Bradley said. “It’s the cohesiveness we have here that makes us successful.”
A week after scoring three touchdowns on punt returns, fifth-year defensive back Robbie Yochim was back to his old tricks on Sunday afternoon.
The speedy veteran scored a pair of majors of kick off returns of 105 and 95 yards.
Yochim credits his teammates’ blocking skills for making his job that much easier.
“I love my (blocking) wedge, the way those guys open up holes for me,” Yochim said.
“I wish I could buy them all something nice, but I don’t have the bank account for that,” he added with a laugh.
The Sun (8-1) will close out the regular season this Sunday against visiting Kamloops Broncos (6-3). Kick off at the Apple Bowl is 1 p.m.