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Huskers head into the fire

Live-game situation this weekend in Kamloops

Former Hawk, Tanner Hamade (centre): This year’s Chilliwack Huskers football team will need to keep their eye on the ball if they hope not to repeat last season’s dismal winless record. Photograph by: Ken Goudswaard, TIMES

By Cornelia Naylor, The Times July 21, 2011

This year’s Chilliwack Huskers football team will need to keep their eye on the ball if they hope not to repeat last season’s dismal winless record.

The Chilliwack Huskers head to Prince George this weekend for their first and only chance to work out the kinks before the season begins in earnest at the end of the month.

The Huskers take on the Kamloops Broncos Saturday in an exhibition game aimed at boosting Prince George’s bid to launch a B.C. Football Conference franchise by 2013.

For Huskers head coach, Luke Acheson the contest will provide an important first look at his team in a live-game situation.

“It’s going to be a real test for our new guys to see how quickly they can adjust and how they’ve adjusted thus far,” he said.

One of those “new guys” is offensive co-ordinator Jon Klyne, who came on board this year, and Acheson is eager to see how his new offence does on the field.

“He’s very very smart, and he’s put in a great offence for us, so we’ll see how that goes,” said Acheson.

Marshalling that offence will be third-year quarterback Adann Hendrickson who completed 22 passes in 40 attempts for 287 yards in four games last season.

The Huskers will rely on Hendrickson’s quick release and ability to think on his feet, said Acheson.

“He’s slippery. Like a wet bar of soap, he’s hard to get a grip on,” he said.

Other key returning players on offence are second-year slotback Adam Leggott, who chalked up 410 yards on 33 receptions last season and fifth-year running back Ben Skerrett, who posted 180 rushing yards on 33 carries last year and is the current all-time BCFC kickoff yardage return leader.

In terms of recruits, the biggest shot in the arm for the Huskers offence this year, according to Acheson, is O-lineman Brendon Moore who returns at left tackle after a year’s absence.

Chilliwack minor football products Cody Parray and Dylan Boykowich also had a standout camp, according to their new coach, and are in the running for starting spots at wide receiver and slotback respectively.

While Acheson will have his eye on Klyne’s new offence this Saturday, he said defence looks to be the Huskers’ strength so far this year.

“It takes a little bit longer for everyone to get on the same page on offence,” he said.

At D, Acheson will look to team captain and BCFC allstar linebacker Mike Decloedt (30 tackles and three sacks last season) to set the tone.

Other key veterans on defence are last year’s team defensive MVP Jason Bates at free safety and local boy Levi Weaver at halfback or corner.

Important additions at D are Washington recruit (with dual Canadian-US citizenship) linebacker Brad Bombery and former Chilliwack Giant Cole Herrman, named the Valley Community Football League’s D-lineman of the year last season.

Rounding out the top defensive recruits is former W.J. Mouat Hawk Tanner Hamade at corner.

While naming key players may be unavoidable, however, Acheson is more concerned with how his team comes together as a unit this Saturday against the Broncos.

“If we can gel and start playing for each other and start playing some good football, we can be very good,” he said.

The Huskers play their first game of the BCFC season against the Westshore Rebels at Exhibition Park July 31. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. For more information visit www.chilliwackhuskers.org.

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