A loss on the final night of the regular season Saturday in Victoria cost the Okanagan Sun a first-place finish in the B.C. Football Conference.
But for Ben Macauley’s club, all that matters now is this weekend’s postseason match-up at home to the Vancouver Island Raiders.
The Sun (8-1-0-1) and Raiders (6-3-1) will square off Sunday at the Apple Bowl in the BCFC semifinal.
“Playoffs are a different mindset,” said Macauley, the Sun’s head coach. “While we would have liked to have won that last game, it’s every practise and every game now from here on in that matters, you treat them like your last.
“There are a lot of guys here who have put in a lot of time watching this all come together,” he added. “We know teams aren’t just going to roll over. Our players are going to have to work for every inch. It’s about how you respond and bounce back.”
In the Raiders, the Sun will see a team that grew progressively better as the season wore on.
Okanagan defeated VI soundly in the first meeting between the clubs in August in Nanaimo. But two weeks later at the Apple Bowl, the Raiders’ scrapped out a 31-31 tie with the Sun, thanks to a last-minute touchdown and two-point conversion.
“VI is a strong team capable of playing with anybody in the conference,” Macauley said. “They play with a lot of intensity and fire. We have to be ready to counter that.”
The Sun is looking to rebound from a 30-19 setback to the Westshore Rebels in a season-ending showdown for first place on Saturday at Westhills Stadium.
It was the first time since the opening kick of 2017 that the Sun were in a position other than top spot and gave the Rebels home-field advantage for the post season.
“It was a tough pill to swallow, to come that far in the season and lose wasn’t what he hoped for,” he said. “We just took too long to get going and weren’t consistent enough in any area. We need to address that this week.”
Kick off between the Sun and Raiders is 1 p.m.
The other BCFC semi on Saturday has the Rebels (9-1-0) hosting the Langley Rams (4-6-0).
Three members of the Sun have been named to the B.C. Football Conference’s 2017 all-star team on offense.
Nate Anderson, who led the Sun with 47 catches for 704 yards, was chosen at one of four receiver positions.
Both Matt Robinson and Marshall Klein were selected as all-stars on the offensive line.
Richard player of week…
The Sun’s Conor Richard has been named the BCFC’s special teams player of the week. The second-year player returned six kick offs for 182 yards, including a 53-yard run that he nearly broke for a touchdown.