There’s nothing the Langley Rams would enjoy more than knocking the Okanagan Sun off their unbeaten perch in the B.C. Football Conference.
There’s nothing the Sun would like more than solidifying their grip on top spot with their sixth consecutive victory of the 2016 campaign.
Only one team will get its way on Saturday night when the Rams (4-1) and Sun (5-0) meet for the first time this season at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley.
Sun defensive back Jamie Turek said there’s no better way to open the second half of the season than a showdown between the league’s top two teams.
“I’m not just looking forward to this as a player, but for our team as a whole, we’re pretty excited for this game,” said Turek, 22, a native of Winnipeg now in his fifth and final season with the Sun. “The (Rams) are fast, we’re fast…they’re aggressive, we’re aggressive. I think we match up well against them, so it should be a great game.”
After the Sun, the Rams are the conference’s hottest team with four straight wins.
Led by running back Nathan Lund and receiver Khalik Johnson the Rams are averaging nearly 40 points per game this season, while the defense has allowed the fewest points (79) in the conference.
With home field on their aside, Sun coach Ben Macauley anticipates the Rams bringing all they have against the defending champs.
“I expect them to play with some desperation, they’re going to want to push us and get into a first place tie with us,” said Macauley. “From our side, we just need to look at continuing to improve our effort each week. I don’t think we’ve played a complete game yet, it’s never perfect, but we’re getting closer.
“They have good coaching, and they’re an explosive team,” Macauley said of the Rams. “If we can can control the ball and keep their offence off the field, then we feel like there are some holes in their defense we can exploit. We’re looking forward to going down there and seeing what we can do.”
The Sun will once again have to rely on team depth due to some key injuries along the offensive line. Jeremy Williams, Matt Robinson and Cole Bertram will all be sidelined for Saturday’s game against the Rams.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Sun is coming off its first shutout of the season, 31-0 over the Kamloops Broncos Saturday night at the Apple Bowl.
Jamie Turek said while the Sun doesn’t expect to post a clean sheet every week, he said there is an increasing sense of both calm and confidence on the defensive side of the ball.
“The guys work so hard in practise, really committing to what we’re trying to accomplish as a group,” said Turek. “Just being part of this defense, it feels very calm out there, the guys have each other’s backs and are playing for each other on every play.”
The Sun’s next home action is Saturday, Sept. 17 against the defending national champion Saskatoon Hilltops. Kick off at the Apple Bowl is 7 p.m.
Sun defensive back Beck Fullerton is the B.C. Football Conference’s defensive player of the week.
In his fourth season with the club, the Winnipeg native made two interceptions, including one for a 72-yard touchdown, and had two tackles in Saturday night’s 31-0 romp of the visiting Kamloops Broncos.
Fullerton and the Sun defense limited the Broncos to 225 yards of total offense.