The Okanagan Sun hopes home sweet home will be the elixir that helps turn the 2012 season around for the B.C. Football Conference club.
Trying rebound from the slowest start in team history, the Sun will play its next three games at the Apple Bowl, beginning Saturday night against the Westshore Rebels.
Kick off is 7 p.m.
With a 1-3 record and in a tie with Kamloops for the fourth and final playoff spot, the Sun is in dire need of a victory.
And with arguably the toughest part of their schedule out of the way—three road games in as many weeks—the Sun will need to take advantage of the warm and hospitable surroundings of the Apple Bowl to stay in the hunt.
“You have take this one game at a time,” said Sun head coach Gavin Lake. “If we lose to Victoria…if we can’t dance with the big dogs in Nanaimo and Langley and don’t do what we are supposed to do against Victoria, then we have to reevaluate what we believe we have on this team. But it’s there, it’s execution and confidence.
“This game can set the tone to not necessarily run the table, but get serious about the playoffs.”
The Rebels (3-1) are comfortably in third place in the BCFC, but have had the luxury of an easier schedule than the Sun. Two of Westshore’s wins have come over last-place Chilliwack and the other over 1-3 Kamloops.
Still, in no way will Lake and the Sun take the Rebels lightly.
“You can look at that from both sides of the coin,” Lake said. “The Rebels coaches may not be exactly sure of how good their team is because of their schedule but you can also look at their athleticism and see the talent is good there.
“We only had two offensive first downs in the second half against Langley,” Lake added, referring to his club’s 34-3 loss to the Rams on Aug 25. “They (Rebels) have had a lot of first downs. Momentum is such an important thing in this sport. I’d take momentum anytime. I think they are in a real good position and it’s up to us to answer that.”
For one thing, Westshore boasts the conference’s leading rusher.
Greg Morris has racked up 573 yards on the ground and has scored seven touchdowns.
“Quite simple, if we don’t stop the run then it’s going to be a long day,” Lake said. “They have arguably the best back in Canada. We have to be prepared for smash-mouth football with those guys.
“They can throw the football as well, they are pretty dynamic, they move around with a lot of motion. We have to be solid in all areas of our game.”
After the Rebels, the Sun will host the Vancouver Island Raiders on Sept. 15, and the Kamloops Broncos on Sept. 22.