Before he can rip apart defences with blazing speed coming out of the Langley Ram‘s backfield, graduating running back Andrew Pocrnic has a game day ritual that begins over 1,500 km away — a Skype call with his family.
“We’ll talk to him prior to the game and wish him good luck of course,” his brother Josip said.
“We talk to him for a bit, and sometimes even get casual, believe it or not, and not talk about football and just talk about other things.”
Those pre-game chats have happened in a myriad of locations as Pocrnic’s football career was taken a less than conventional path since his high school days at Marion Graham Collegiate.
His journey has included stops in Ottawa with the Carleton University Ravens, and in the B.C. interior with the BCFC’s Kamloops Broncos, before he finally joined the Rams.
“It’s crazy where football takes you,” Pocrnic said. “Growing up in Saskatchewan, no one really leaves. You go play for the Hilltops, and then maybe the Huskies, and then hopefully the Riders. For me, I always wanted to change paths.”
“Words can’t even describe, like, it’s been a goal of mine for a while,” Pocrnic stated. “To go against my hometown, I guess, and just prove to myself and to everyone that I could do it and this team is more than capable of doing it as well.”
Although they will be one of the only families in the Bridge City cheering for the Rams, the Pocrnic’s aren’t taking the Hilltops lightly.
“We respect the Hilltops because they earned their respect, they’re a good team, they’re a great team,” said Pocrnic’s mother. Jandranka. “They still have a lot of players that I personally know. It is a bit tough, but, I guess your heart goes where your child is. So, we will be cheering Langley Rams.”
Although the Toppers come into the contest riding a 30-game winning streak, Andrew doesn’t see his team as the underdog.
“I’m not really looking at it as an upset or anything like that. It’s two competitive teams and the best team will come out on top. We’ll have to play disciplined and play our game.
His family expects nothing but the best game from Andrew on Saturday.
“I know he’s going to do well, regardless of a win or a loss there, he’s going to have a great game,” Josip said.