Sun face island test

The Okanagan Sun have not had much success lately when travelling to the provincial capital.

Regardless to time of year, or how each team is playing, the Westshore Rebels seem to find a way to take down the Sun.

The Sun will try and change all that when the two teams square off for the first of two meetings this season tonight.

Over the past two seasons, the home team has been able to prevail. Sun head coach Ben Macauley believes breaking that string this weekend could come down to good game preparation.

"I think we've done a good job this year of having a full, detailed game plan for four quarters of football. I think we are more flushed out when it comes to depth," he said.

"We certainly have more bodies, and we think our second level is good enough to be starters in most programs. I think that will make a difference. When you get into a good, physical game, you have guys go down with injuries, so being able to plug in another guy and have the second string ready to go will make a difference."

Both teams enter the game off winning 2018 debuts.

The Rebels were 19-16 winners over the Langley Rams, while the Sun easily handled the Kamloops Broncos 56-6, an outcome which allowed the Sun to rest most of their starters in the second half.

The stifling Sun defence allowed just 38 total yards while a balanced attack amassed 209 yards through the air and the same on the ground.

With so many talented new bodies in key positions, Macauley spread the workload around in Kamloops.

Ten different players carried the ball while eight players saw at least one reception.

Macauley says a lot of that was by design, to get a few players who came into camp just under the wire a chance to see the ball.

Expect that to to change moving forward.

"With so many new faces and guys stepping into new roles, we kind of have to test them out and see what they're like under live game situations.

"You'll probably see more of a defined depth chart and a clear starter going forward at most positions, but style of play and varied ways of attack won't change."

One of those new bodies, quarterback Jakob Loucks came as advertised. In just a half of work, he completed eight of 13 for 137 yards eight times for another 50 yards and a touchdown.

But, it's his style of running that did cause some concern with the coaches. He tends to initiate contact rather than get to the ground to avoid contact.

Macauley says he has spoken to his quarterback about picking his spots.

"I don't want him to change his style, but I do want him to be a bit more thoughtful of when, and which battles to choose."

Saturday's game is the second of four straight on the road to open the season for the Sun. They don't play their home opener until September while the city repairs the Apple Bowl track.

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