Chilliwack Huskers head coach Luke Acheson talks technique with mammoth guard Jonathan Abril (right) during a Huskers practice.

Huskers and Rebels as football season starts

Chilliwack Huskers

It is amazing what a win will do.

Even a preseason win has the potential to kickstart a team, which is why Chilliwack Huskers head coach Luke Acheson looked a little more optimistic around the practice field this week.

A 19-14 come-from-behind win up in Prince George has the coach and his team believing in themselves as they take on Victoria’s Westshore Rebels Sunday afternoon (2 p.m.) at Exhibition Stadium.

“Not getting a taste of that all of last year, some things stick around and nothing cleans the air quite like a win,” Acheson said on Tuesday. “They worked hard. They didn’t stop believing and fighting and I was proud they were able to scratch out a win against a very improved Kamloops team.”

The Huskers received some standout individual performances against the Broncos.

Quarterback Adann Hendrickson cemented his status as the top pivot, scoring one of the majors while leading his team back from a 14-0 abyss.

The 20-year-old Maple Ridge native has been handed the keys to the offence this year, taking over from departed Clayton Kroeker. Hendrickson has been behind center before, but never as THE guy.

“With his athleticism and improvisational skills, we don’t win that game in PG without him,” Acheson said. “He’s not playing any other positions this year, so he’s able to just focus on being a quarterback. He’s working closely with (offensive coordinator) Jon Klyne this year, which has helped him with the reads and progressions. He has a grasp of the offence and knows where we want to go with it. And if things break down, he’s great at making something happen.”

How successful he is will largely depend on the supporting cast, starting with the offensive line. Chilliwack’s biggest problem in recent years has been keeping QBs on their feet.

Acheson has no one with any experience to back up Hendrickson if he goes down, making the O-line all the more crucial.

“They’re more mature, stronger and quicker than last year and I’m hoping that’s one of the areas we’ll be much improved in,” the coach noted.

As of Tuesday, veteran Brandon Moore was slated to anchor the line at left tackle, with Greg Paquette on the right side.

Paquette sprained his ankle in PG, leaving Acheson to ponder a plan B that might involve moving big guards Tanner Gee or Jonathan Abril outside or going with youngster Brandon Doig.

In a perfect world, Abril (six-foot-eight and 380 pounds) and Gee (six-foot-four and 275 pounds) would stay inside.

“There’s three guards in the mix, because Shawn Mellesmoen had a very good game in PG,” Acheson said. “That’s a battle to watch.”

Brennan Adrian looks set as the starting center, replacing departed B.C. all-star Mike McLean.

If Hendrickson gets time, he should have some playmakers at his disposal.

Acheson thinks the running game is in solid hands with veteran tailback Ben Skerrett, Misha Otanga and Jake McKinnon.

“Jake’s a good runner with great hands, a mature kid who is very humble and hard working,” Acheson said. “We’ll put him in position to try and make some plays for us.”

When the Huskers go to the air, the primary target will be Adam Leggott.

The Saskatoon native finished last season with 33 catches for 410 yards and one touchdown.

“He’ll be the leader, and I’m expecting even bigger things from Adam this year,” Acheson said.

Acheson is also excited about local products Cody Parray and Dylan Boykowich.

“Both guys are from the Giants, and it’s saved us having some of these kids staying local,” the coach said. “Our other wideout spots aren’t necessarily set in stone, and there’s a battle every week. Right now, Danton Nagorski (Portage la Prairie, Manitoba) is stepping up.”

Defensively, Acheson sees a group of playmakers that includes standout linebacker Mike DeCloedt and newcomer Cole Herrmann.  A force at the midget level, Herrmann could be the best defensive end in Chilliwack since David Bosch.

An experienced secondary includes talented returnees Jayson Bates, Nick Wingfield, Levi Weaver  and Andy Bolen.

“A rookie I’m really impressed with is Tanner Hamade out of Abbotsford, who’s starting at corner,” Acheson added. “It’ll be trial by fire, but he looks good so far.”

As nice as all this sounds, the proof must come on the field, starting this weekend against a tough and talented Rebels squad. Starting the season with a home-field win would go a long way towards dispelling the ghosts of the 0-10 2010 season.

“We’ll look to work hard and continue to improve, set daily goals and be better than we were yesterday,” Acheson summarized. “If we do that, everything else will take care of itself.”

Get Huskers info at www.chilliwackhuskers.org.

Get BCFC info at www.bcjuniorfootball.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Open houses discouraged as Chilliwack realtors look for a way forward

March saw strong sales but April likely to see lower numbers

Cookie’s Grill owners help Meals on Wheels keep rolling in Chilliwack

Colleen and Colin Connolly are working hard to get food to seniors and others in need of a good meal

Chilliwack hospital offers thank-you message to community

Chilliwack health-care workers say they have heard everyone’s support throughout COVID-19 pandemic

UPDATE: Vehicle crash leaves 1,200 Chilliwack BC Hydro customers in the dark

Motor vehicle incident involving power pole could leave Fairfield Island residents in dark until 7:30 p.m.

Organ donation gives Fraser Valley RCMP officer a second chance at life

Cathleen Falebrinza celebrates Green Shirt Day after receiving a double lung transplant in 2016.

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Sanders drops 2020 bid, leaving Biden as likely nominee

Sanders plans to talk to his supporters later Wednesday

B.C. faith leaders, Horgan discuss need for virtual religious ceremonies

Leaders were open to providing other ways to celebrate during the pandemic

Emergency COVID-19 funding now available for children with special needs

Funding to be used to help support families through uncertain times of pandemic

Revenue dip needed to qualify for wage subsidy drops to 15% in March: Trudeau

Wage subsidy would over 75% of each employee’s salary for qualifying businesses

B.C. closes all provincial parks for COVID-19 protection

Easter weekend approaches, camping already closed

Air Canada says it will apply for wage subsidy to rehire workers after cutting 16,500 jobs

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

Most Read