Layne Hull and the Okanagan Sun spent ample time savouring the club’s perfect 10-0 record in the BCFC regular season.
But the 21-year-old linebacker and his teammates have long since turned the page to the team’s ultimate goal—pursuing a national championship.
The Sun will look to take the next big step towards a Canadian Bowl when they kick off the BCFC playoffs Sunday at the Apple Bowl against the Kamloops Broncos.
“It’s been a long season and a great season, so it’s nice to be finally getting on with the playoffs,” said Hull. “We’re excited about it. We want that national championship…but at the same time, we know it’s one game at a time. Kamloops is our focus right now and we’re out to get the job done.”
Hull is one of three key defensive players who will be back in the Sun lineup for Sunday’s conference semifinal.
Lineman Lucas Machado and defensive back Jamie Turek will also return after all three sat out the club’s final regular season game against the Broncos with injuries.
Despite a 51-38 victory for the Sun, the Broncos had plenty of success against the Okanagan defense, piling up 21 more points than the Sun had surrendered in any other game this season.
Head coach Shane Beatty said the return of all three players will be key for the Sun on Sunday.
“It’s huge for us now, because now these kids are hungry,” said Beatty. “Those three pieces of the puzzle were were missing when we couldn’t do a lot of things.
“You have Layne’s speed, add Luke’s aggressiveness, and Jamie Turek at corner…we’ll be ready.”
While neither game was a nail-biter—39-17 and 51-38—the Broncos gave the Sun more trouble than any team in the conference the season.
It’s a fact not lost on Beatty or his players, who are adequately motivated for Sunday’s test.
“These kids are tuned in,” Beatty said. “That was a wakeup call last time against Kamloops, and deservedly so.”
With more than 100 points scored and over 1,000 total yards racked up between the final two outings, the Sun offence—led by quarterback Cam Bedore—looks to be hitting its stride at the right time of year.
“The guys have been getting better every week,” Beatty said of the offence. “They’ll be ready to go.”
The Sun will also welcome Kory Ngata back into the lineup after the 19-year-old running back missed the last five weeks with an injury.
The winner of this weekend’s BCFC semifinals will meet in the Cullen Cup final next weekend, Oct. 23 and 24.
The Vancouver Island Raiders are playing host to the Langley Rams on Saturday in Nanaimo in the other semi.
Kick off Sunday at the Apple Bowl between the Sun and Broncos is 1 p.m.