The Okanagan Sun looked a lot more like the well-oiled machine the coaching staff was confident would eventually surface during the 2011 B.C. Football Conference season.
After a pair of shaky, nail-biting wins over the Langley Rams the previous two weeks, Okanagan (4-0) shifted into a higher gear by dismantling the Westshore (Victoria) Rebels 49-7 Saturday night at the Apple Bowl.
The surge in both the team’s performance and confidence comes not a moment too soon as the arch rival Vancouver Island Raiders are next on the Sun’s agenda.
“With the Raiders coming up, it’s exactly the kind of game we needed to have,” said Sun head coach Jason Casey.
Between repetition and a solid commitment from the players, Casey said the Sun continues to make steady progress.
“The guys are practising harder and they’re practicing smarter. The first three weeks, mentally and physically, the guys weren’t necessarily on the same page. They’re buying into what we want to do here, and it’s paying off.”
Quarterback Jeremy Joseph-Mraovic, starting in place of the injured Bobby Davis (left thumb), passed for 239 yards and fired a trio of touchdown passes Saturday against Westshore – one each to Mike Friend, Dan Turek and Mitchell Thompson.
Sophomore Armand Bokitch returned from injury to make his first start at running back, and led the ground attack with 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Ben White returned a punt 83 yards for a major and Steve McFadyen added two field goals.
On the defensive side, lineman Steven Doege earned a spot in the record books with two sacks. In just shy of 2 1/2 seasons, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Doege is the BCFC’s all-time sack leader with 24.5.
The Sun defence will need to be at its best as they travel to Nanaimo to battle 2010 Player of the Year Jordan Yantz and the Raiders (4-0) Saturday afternoon.
The winner takes over sole possession of top spot.
Meanwhile, the Kamloops Broncos bowed 28-10 to Langley Saturday night at Hillside Stadium.
Linebacker Tyler Lee of Vernon had one fumble recovery for the 1-3 Broncos.