Okanagan Sun’s Tyler Going plays defence for the Sun and was ranked the eighth best player in the country by the Canadian Junior Football League. (Marissa Baecker - Sun Media)

Going the distance: Top Okanagan football player looks to lead team back to glory

Tyler Going was ranked No. 8 top player in Canadian Junior Football League

The bitter taste of last year’s playoff elimination still lingers for Tyler Going.

As the Okanagan Sun defensive back enters his third season with the club, that hint of defeat still remains from last season as Going and his teammates focus on a new season bidding to reach the Canadian Bowl junior football championship.

“The expectation is the same thing every year, it’s to win a championship,” said Going.

“The players are going everything we can, and our coaches are doing everything they can to get us to that point.”

Going is using last year’s 39-7 BCFC loss on their Apple Bowl home turf as motivation to succeed this season.

“You can’t be a champion if you don’t know what it’s like to be defeated before. We’ve got to forget about last year,” Going said.

“It’s a whole different team and whole different atmosphere. I think it’s looking good.”

READ MORE: Kelowna Falcons score 28 runs in lost series

The Sun started their season on Aug. 3 with a 26-3 victory against Kamloops, and although the win wasn’t pretty, it was still a win.

The season-opener win came right after Going was named the eighth-best player in the league by the Canadian Junior Football League.

He’s one of two Sun players to rank in the top 10 rankings of the entire league, which has 18 teams and well over 900 players.

“I was a bit surprised, to be honest, I didn’t think I was gonna go eighth, but it’s a big honour to be recognized by the league as one of the top players,” he said.

“Now, I need to go out there and prove to people why the league was right.”

Head coach Jamie Boreham has said from the season’s outset it would take the mixture of veteran leaders and newcomers to blend together to revive the Sun’s championship hopes.

And Going knows that he will be called upon as one of those veterans to provide leadership.

“Every day at practice we’re working hard towards our goal of a championship,” said Going.

“For me, it’s leading by example. It starts with practice, it starts with being in the locker room and being a brotherhood.

“There are lots of guys doing a good job with that.”

READ MORE: Rockets’ star impresses at World Junior showcase

The Okanagan Sun take on the Valley Huskers in their next matchup on Saturday night.

After the first-game jitters against Kamloops which led to penalties and turnovers, Going is ready to learn from the mistakes moving forward.

“It was nice after not playing football for (almost) eight months, to get that win. We were a little loose and we screwed up here and there,” said Going.

“But now that we and all the other teams got the first-game jitters out, all the teams are going to be better.

“We got to be ready to go, it’ll be a first road game for a lot of our team. We have to go in there and do our jobs.”

“Valley has some good players, but I think we have better football players and a better team.”

READ MORE: Eagle Bluff wildfire expected to grow

Going looks to repeat as a B.C. conference all-star team again this season and aspires to earn his first All-Canadian nod.

But above all else, Going said that earning a spot in the Canadian Bowl remains the ultimate goal.

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