Chilliwack’s Valley Huskers hope to hit the ground running with a season opening win over a BC Football Conference rival.
The Kamloop Broncos roll into town for a Saturday night clash at Exhibition Stadium.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. as the Huskers face a veteran opponent led by star wideout and BC Lions prospect Derek Yachison.
“The thing with him is we can’t let our schemes and systems be dictated by him,” Huskers head coach Adam Smith said Wednesday. “We can’t hold him to five catches while everyone else has wide-open touchdowns.”
“I don’t think you can cover him man-to-man, and I don’t think having a safety over the top helps either,” the coach added. “We’ll zone it up, mix in some man and try to get in his face a bit, but I don’t think there’s anything we can throw at him that he didn’t already see practising with the Lions. He’s seen it all.”
Yachison and the Broncos faced the Huskers three times in 2014, getting three wins.
One was a laugher (45-15).
The other two were closer (49-33 and 23-14) and Smith is eager to see if his team has narrowed the gap with one of the BCFC’s best.
“They (Kamloops) finished 6-4 last year, really beating up on us and the Westshore Rebels,” Smith said. “They went into the playoffs and almost upset Langley, so they’re a bit of a wildcard to me.”
“But they’ve got a lot of confidence going into this season, which they deserve.”
Smith’s reloaded roster includes five returning receivers; Blake Draper, Keenan Godden, Kaanon Felix, Kellen Pooles and Cody Vinnish.
They’ll catch passes from a pair of raw but talented quarterbacks, Brendan Briden and Noah Falconer.
Falconer, a WJ Mouat grad gets the week one start.
“He’s got this poise for such a young kid, gets rid of the ball quickly and he’s got a gun on him,” Smith said. ”We’re hoping he takes this opportunity and runs with it.”
A revamped ground game includes GW Graham Grizzly grad Brett Westad joined by Brendan Atkinson and Spencer Yeats.
Atkinson will be the main man to start, but all three should get carries.
On the defensive side, Smith hopes the Broncos experience significant shock and awe as his Huskers dial up a new level of intensity and aggressiveness.
“They’ve got so much energy, passion and toughness this year, I don’t think people will recognize this group from defences Chilliwack’s had in the past,” Smith smiled. “They’ll make some mistakes, but they’ll make them at 100 per cent, and by mid-season this is going to be a scary bunch to play against.”
The Huskers remain home the following weekend to face the Okanagan Sun before hitting the road to visit the Langley Rams.
See valleyhuskers.org for more information.