Lucas Machado and the Okanagan Sun will look to bring down Marshall Cook and the Vancouver Island Raiders Sunday at the Apple Bowl in the B.C. Football Conference playoff action.

Past post-season setbacks fire up Sun

After first-round losses last two seasons, Okanagan looks to make amends in B.C. junior football semifinal this weekend at the Apple Bowl

In each of Thomas Huber’s first two seasons of junior football in Kelowna, the Okanagan Sun failed to make it past the opening round of the playoffs.

On Sunday at the Apple Bowl, it’s no secret what result the veteran receiver—and every one of his teammates—yearns for when the Sun hosts the Vancouver Island Raiders in the B.C. Football Conference semifinal.

“My first year here, I didn’t know much about the history of the Sun or junior football, but it was pretty frustrating to lose that first playoff game,” said Huber. “Last year was even worse, we knew we had the potential, and lost a game (to Langley) we should have won.

“This year, the guys are excited, focused and ready to do what we haven’t able to the last two years.”

Cam Bedore, who returned to the lineup for the final game of the regular season after missing time with an injury, will start at quarterback for the Sun on Sunday, with rookie Josiah Joseph providing backup support.

“Cam played well in the first two games against (the Raiders) and he’s ready to go,” said Sun offensive coordinator Tony Lindsay.

Based on the regular season, the Sun will be the overwhelming favourites on Sunday afternoon. Three of the Sun’s league-best nine wins in 2014 came against the Raiders—38-0, 64-20 and 19-7. The last game, played in Nanaimo last month, was Vancouver Island’s best effort of the three.

“They’ve improved every game,” Lindsay said of the Raiders’ defense. “We struggled a bit on offense in that last game, and we’ve addressed those things.

“VI has a good, young aggressive coaching staff that isn’t afraid to take chances, so we’ll need to be ready for that.”

Meanwhile, the Sun will have to wait one extra week for the return of 2013 all-star defensive lineman Jonas Gering.

The Rutland grad, who has missed five weeks with a knee injury is closing in on a clean bill of health, but the Sun have decided not to take any undue risks.

“It’s been a long five weeks,” Gering said. “I could push it but coach (Beatty) decided it would be better this way. I’m all set for next week.”

Kick off on Sunday at the Apple Bowl is 1 p.m.

The winner will take on the winner of the other BCFC semifinal which features the Langley Rams at home to the Kamloops Broncos.