Okanagan Sun head coach Travis Miller cautions against reading too much into the Langley Rams upset loss to the Westshore Rebels last weekend.
The Rebels jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead, then held on for a 36-20 victory in a game played in Langley.
Despite that start, Miller says the Rams are still the team to beat.
"They are the defending national champions, so I don't think anybody can treat them anything else other than that. There are a lot of national champions who have lost games the following year but still hoisted the trophy at the end of the year," said Miller in advance of Saturday's showdown between the Sun and Rams in Langley.
"From our perspective and hopefully from the fans perspective, this is the defending national champions and you have to treat them with the respect they have deserved.
"For us it's an opportunity at redemption, for them it's an opportunity to refocus. I think for everybody that watches, it will be a great game."
Redemption for the Sun would be some payback for the way the 2021 season ended, a 7-4 defeat in Langley in the BCFC final. A win that propelled the Rams to the national title.
While the Rams are licking their wounds, the Sun come in following a 50-19 dismantling of the VI Raiders to kick off the season.
After a typical Sun slow start, the offence finally started rolling late in the first half, amassing 583 yards in total offence including 417 yards through the air.
Slow, said Miller in an understatement and, while he was pleased with the way the offence was able to move the ball, he wished it was a little more consistent.
"We are trying some different things this week," said Miller of trying to avoid the slow start.
"Tinkering the way in which we start our pre-game, the way in which we travel. All those things to try and find that happy medium and something that is going to work for the team."
The defence surrendered a couple of touchdowns through the air, including a 75 yard bomb in the opening quarter, but was able to register four quarterback sacks and cause havoc in the offensive backfield much of the night.
That defence, led by defensive lineman Kelon Thomas will get ever more formidable this week with the return of linebacker Tyler Going.
"For any team to get an all-Canadian linebacker back in the fray is always a positive. But, we've also got Isaac Wegner back, we have Kamar Bishop in town and Tyler Turner is back, so we get a third of our defensive players back this week which hopefully will lead to a few less points on the scoreboard."
The Sun get the bye next weekend before opening up the home portion of their schedule Aug. 13 when they entertain the Westshore Rebels.