For the first time since the days of Derek Mann, there is no quarterback controversy for the Okanagan Sun.
This is Cam Bedore’s team — at least for this year.
It’s been a whirlwind three-year junior career to date, but Bedore has settled in as the Sun’s starter midway through the 2014 campaign. Local rookie Josiah Joseph out of Mount Boucherie has been impressive as a backup and posted comparable stats through the first two weeks of the B.C. Football Conference season, but Bedore solidified the No. 1 role by leading Okanagan to back-to-back blowouts of the defending champion Vancouver Island Raiders (2-3) in Weeks 3 and 4.
The latter served as an exclamation point, with Bedore completing 18-of-24 passes for 351 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.
“It was definitely a bit of a confidence-booster for me,” said Bedore, who kept the momentum going with two more TDs, one passing and one rushing, in Saturday night’s 54-16 road win over the previously unbeaten Kamloops Broncos (3-1). With the victory, the Sun (4-1) took over top spot in the BCFC standings heading into their bye week. The Raiders rebounded to prevail 52-44 over the Langley Rams (3-1), who host the Broncos in the lone game next weekend before visiting the Apple Bowl for an anticipated first-place showdown on Sept. 6.
“I kinda got thrown to the wolves the first year and it didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked, and then I didn’t get a whole lot of field time last year (behind starter Theo Deezar), so it definitely made a huge difference for me to get in there and have a game like that,” continued Bedore, who ran one in from 19 yards out in the first quarter, then connected with Lerone Robinson on a 35-yard major during the third frame at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops.
Robinson also caught a TD pass of 32 yards from Bedore against Vancouver Island in what was a breakout game for Kyle Patchell, on the receiving end of three scores from 76, 22 and 19 yards.
“It was a huge game by Cam. He made all the right reads and stuff,” Patchell said of his quarterback prior to Friday’s practice. “It was great to see, in a game against a rival like that, for Cam to step up.
“All of our receivers have confidence in him, and same with Josiah — we’re in good hands either way.”
That does appear to be the case, although it’s evident the Sun will be going as far as Bedore can take them in 2014. Right now, that’s looking pretty far with his offence putting up 217 points through five games — an average of 43 points — including 122 in three games against their biggest rivals in the Raiders and Rams.
“The game definitely has slowed down a little bit for me,” Bedore said. “I can’t say that I’m at my peak because you can always improve.”
Looking back, Bedore wishes he had some of the mentorship that Joseph is getting from him now. Bedore was thrust right into the starting role as a rookie out of W.J. Mouat in Abbotsford, and that was amid former coach Gavin Lake’s tumultuous 3-7 tenure in 2012.
“Something I didn’t get was just a little bit of learning under an older guy,” said Bedore, who finally had time to grasp the playbook after being supplanted by Deezar in his second season under another rookie coach, Shane Beatty. Deezar was only here for one year, opting to head home and play for the University of Manitoba Bisons this season, with Beatty going back to Bedore in his absence. “We learned some things from each other, and we had good chemistry as well, so even though we were competing, it wasn’t cut-throat. And just getting to take a backseat kind of role, to learn the offence a little bit better and learn how to read defences, it really helped me for this year.
“Competition always makes you work a little bit harder to really improve,” he added.
As for Joseph, who more closely resembles Deezar in stature and playing style, Bedore sees a bright future.
“Josiah’s a stud for his age,” he said. “I think he’s going to be a real force to be reckoned with in the next couple of years here.
“He’s a really smart guy and he’s picking up the offence really fast. For him, it’s just going to be a matter of getting that game experience where he can.”
Mann, who played for the Sun from 2006 to 2009, was known for his long dark wavy locks — a surfer look of sorts. Bedore also rocks a trademark hairstyle, one that only he can explain.
“This is my Jedi braid, I’m kind of a Star Wars fan is an understatement I guess,” he said of a thin long strip of hair that almost goes unnoticeable because of the bleached blonde patch on the other side of his head. “The blonde was more of a statement, just to do something different. Maybe get in guys’ heads a little bit too, because they look over at me and go ‘I don’t know if that guy’s all right?’”