Jason Casey has no complaints about the end result in his team’s B.C. Football Conference regular season opener.
The rookie head coach does, however, have some concerns about the Okanagan Sun’s overall lack of mental sharpness in Sunday’s 40-14 win over the hometown Kamloops Broncos.
“I’m pleased with our effort, but we need to do a lot of mental work, there were mental mistakes and brain cramps, the guys need to educate themselves better about what’s happening out there,” said Casey.
“What I saw a lot of was missed responsibilities, guys not in the right place at the right time. We were probably lucky to be playing a team that, on paper, was not as talented as us. I think if we had opened against Nanaimo and played like that, we get our butts kicked.”
Despite a slow start on a windy night at Hillside Stadium, Casey said his club did get better as the game progressed and was firing much better on both sides of the ball by the fourth quarter.
Incumbent No. 1 quarterback Bobby Davis played the first half, spotted the Sun to a 13-7 lead, then switched over to the safety position for the second half.
Newcomer Jeremy Joseph was impressive in relief, completing eight of 13 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns. The former St. FX pivot also ran for 63 yards and a pair of majors.
Casey said with Joseph and Davis possessing tremendous athletic ability, it was important to get both on the field.
“It’s great to know that if J.J. does become a starter week to week, then we can use Bobby’s talents elsewhere. He’s a stud back there at safety, and whatever position he’s at, we want him on the field. Both those guys can be valuable at more than one position. It’s good to know we have two guys who can play quarterback equally well.”
The Sun was given a productive day by a pair of rookie running backs. Alex Bradley had 64 yards on seven carries, while Mt. Boucherie grad Mikhail Maloff added 54 yards on 11 carries.
Ben White led the receiving corps with five catches for 127 yards and a touchdown, while fellow veteran Tommy Howes grabbed six balls for 78 yards and two scores.
Defensively, Casey liked the effort of Brandon Donkers and, as usual, Steven Doege, who recorded a sack to move to within one of the all-time BCFC record.
Vernon products shined for the Broncos with Brennan Plante catching a pair of touchdown passes, including a 39-yarder.
Adam Nesbitt made four catches for 54 yards, including a 19-yarder, while Don Calvert had two catches for 20 yards.
Fullback Dalton Anderson recorded six yards on two touches.
The Sun host the Langley Rams Saturday night at the Apple Bowl.
Casey said the biggest challenge for his club will be containing kick return specialist Nick Downey.
In other opening weekend action, the defending B.C. champ Vancouver Island Raiders downed the Rams 39-13, while the Westshore (Victoria) Rebels rattled the Chilliwack Huskers 37-8.