In a rain-filled practice, Prince George Kodiaks head coach and Director of Football Operations Keon Raymond emphasized passion and discipline.
In 48 hours, the BC Football Conference’s newest franchise will play its inaugural home opener against the Kamloops Broncos on Saturday at 7pm from Masich Place Stadium.
Raymond expects the Kodiaks to have the juices flowing against their closest geographical rival.
“I told our guys, if you can’t be jacked up and ready for this, it’s the first junior game in CJFL history in Prince George and you gotta be ready for this. If you are not ready for this then you don’t want to play football.”
The Broncos on the other hand are starving for some on-field success themselves as they have accumulated just one win since 2017. That came on Halloween Night of last season, an 18-7 triumph against the Westshore Rebels.
Kamloops kicked off its season last week with a hard-fought 14-7 defeat at the hands of the Vancouver Island Raiders.
Raymond isn’t taking the Broncos for granted despite the lack of success in the win column.
“They have kind of been one of the teams that’s had it hard the last couple of years so I am pretty sure they will come in hungry and ready to play.”
“They are the closest team to us and there is probably going to be a bit of a rivalry as we continue to build. I am looking forward to those coming into town – it’s kind of a celebration for them playing the new guys on the block.”
For the Kodiaks to come out on top, they will need a stellar performance from their quarterback Liam Oczkowski.
He told Vista Radio, the early game jitters shouldn’t be as prevalent this time around.
“Getting that first game under our belts is really eye-opening and you see how much faster the game is compared to high school. We’ll be prepared for it.”
“I have been nursing an ankle injury since that first game against Chilliwack. I have been nursing that the last couple weeks but I’ll be ready and the whole team will be ready to play.”
Two weeks ago, the Kodiaks dropped their first ever contest in the BCFC, a 31-5 defeat at the hands of the Valley Huskers in Chilliwack.
The 39-year-old two-time Grey Cup Champion saw several positives from his young team and that the score was not indicative of the play.
“When we came out in the first game, I wanted to see what type of team I had. We were weak in training camp and it was an opportunity for us to see where we were at playing against a veteran team that made the playoffs last season. Now, we kind of know, they came out and hit us in the mouth for a bit, but I would say for the most part, our guys played hard and tough and didn’t quit.”
“That’s the biggest thing I like to see,” added Raymond.