The Okanagan Sun football team will have a strong presence at the BC Lions evaluation camp later this month.
Six players from the Sun will be attending the camp, including defensive back Matt McConnell and offensive lineman (and Rutland Senior grad) Michele Vecchio.
McConnell had 21 tackles this past season, to go along with a fumble recovery and three interceptions – one of which was returned for a touchdown.
The other four players had already been invited and include Jonas Gering (DL), Brandon Donkers (LB), Brennan Van Nistelrooy (DB) and Jack Rush (S).
This is the third straight year that the Lions have opened their doors to the BCFC and the team will treat this the same way they do at the CFL and NFL combines by recording each player’s height, weight, bench press, broad jump and vertical.
Two members of a strong Okanagan Sun secondary were named Canadian Junior Football League all-Canadians Thursday.
The announcement was made in Regina, site of Saturday's CJFL championship game between the Regina Thunder and VI Raiders.
Brennan Van Nistelrooy, the BCFC's top defensive back and safety Jack Rush were both named all-Canadians Thursday a day after offensive lineman Devon Kozar received a similar honour.
Van Nistelrooy finished the season with 24 tackles, a sack, two blocked kicks, three knockdowns, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.
Rush had 33 tackles, five knockdowns, four interceptions, one touchdown and one fumble recovery.
Left off the list of all-Canadians was Sun defensive back and kick returner Robbie Yochim who led the nation with seven interceptions.
The complete breakdown of all-Canadians includes:
- Evan Foster – Langley Rams (second consecutive year) – 15 tackles, 16 sacks*, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 interception, 1 touchdown
- Ash Gayat – Vancouver Island Raiders – 18 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries
- Steve Dignard – Ottawa Sooners – 7 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 touchdown
- Brett Pisio – Saskatoon Hilltops – 17 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 knockdowns, 1 fumble recovery
- Dylan Chapdelaine – Vancouver Island Raiders – 42 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery
- Mason Beekhuis – Windsor AKO Fratmen – 24 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception
- Zack McEachern – Calgary Colts – 33 tackles, 1 knockdown, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception
- Brennan Van Nistelrooy – Okanagan Sun – 24 tackles, 1 sack, 2 blocked kicks, 3 knockdowns, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery
- Derek Coleman – London Beefeaters – 17 tackles, 3 knockdowns, 6 interceptions
- Ryan Migadel – Edmonton Wildcats – 33 tackles, 1 knockdown, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown
- Jack Rush – Okanagan Sun – 33 tackles, 5 knockdowns, 4 interceptions, 1 touchdown, 1 fumble recovery
- Chris Tunnicliffe – Regina Thunder – 28 tackles, 1 knockdown, 5 interceptions
- Austin Crumb – Windsor AKO Fratmen - 33 total returns, 798 return yards*, 3 touchdowns* (1 kickoff, 2 punts), averaging 26.7 yards a return
*led the CJFL
The CJFL Major Award winners will be announced on Friday November 8, 2013 during the Canadian Bowl Banquet of Champions.
The 2013 Canadian Bowl will kick-off Saturday November 9, 2013 at 2 p.m. at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, SK.
Okanagan Sun offensive lineman has been named a CJFL All-Canadian.
Kozar, who completed his junior career with the Sun this past season, moved to the offensive line this season after spending much of his first two seasons on the defensive line.
Earlier in the off season, he was also named a BCFC all-star.
Other offensive All-Canadians include:
- Dalton Laghlin – Hamilton Hurricanes
- Anthony Daley – Langley Rams (second consecutive year)
- Tristan Hoath – Saskatoon Hilltops
- Logan Trachuk – Edmonton Wildcats
- Devon Kozar – Okanagan Sun
- Whitman Tomusiak – Vancouver Island Raiders (second consecutive year) - 38 receptions, 660 yards, 7 touchdowns
- Matt Coates – Hamilton Hurricanes – 36 receptions, 630 yards, 13 touchdowns* (set a new OFC record)
- Karsten Beney – Predators Football - 44 receptions, 784 yards, 7 touchdowns
- Kurt Goodrich – Winnipeg Rifles – 41 receptions, 985 yards*, 9 touchdowns
- Levon Hawreliak – Edmonton Wildcats – 208 carries*, 1687 yards*, 7 touchdowns
- Andre Lalonde – Saskatoon Hilltops – 182 carries, 1367 yards, 7 touchdowns
- Asher Hastings – Regina Thunder – 118 completions, 1765 yards, 17 touchdowns, 62.4 completion percentage
- Dan Erickson – Valley Huskers - 57 punts, 1765 net yards, 31 net yard average
- Nate Mesher – Predators Football – 15 for 16 in field goals (98.3%)*, 16 for 16 in converts
*led the CJFL
The CJFL will release the Defensive All-Canadians on Thursday November 7, 2013
The CJFL Major Award winners will be announced on Friday November 8, 2012 during the Canadian Bowl Banquet of Champions.
The 2013 Canadian Bowl will kick-off Saturday November 9, 2013 at 2:00pm at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, SK.
The Okanagan Sun were front and centre Thursday as the BC Football Conference handed out its season ending hardware.
The Sun and defending BCFC champion Langley Rams each placed eight players on the league all-star team while the first place Vancouver Island Raiders were next with six all-star selections, three on offense and three on defense.
There are 27 players in total named as BCFC All-Stars.
Sun defensive back Robbie Yochim was named twice on defence and special teams.
BCFC Major Award Winners:
Ranji Mattu Memorial Coach of the Year – Matt Blokker (also won in 2011) – Vancouver Island Raiders – led the Raiders to an 8-2 record and collected his 84th win in Week 5 to become the All-Time winningest Head Coach in BCFC history.
Ken Smith Executive of the Year – Dino Bernardo (Kamloops Broncos) and Fred Ponech (BCFC Treasurer)
Ron White Community Service Award – Brad Goodchild – Langley Rams
Outstanding Offensive Lineman – Anthony Daley – Langley Rams (second consecutive year)
Outstanding Offensive Back – Kyle Albertini – Langley Rams - 94 carries, 838 yards, 4 touchdowns, 8.9 yards a carry helped win him 2013 rushing title.
Outstanding Receiver – Whitman Tomusiak – Vancouver Island Raiders (second consecutive year) - 38 catches, 660 yards and 7 touchdowns
Outstanding Defensive Lineman – Evan Foster – Langley Rams (second consecutive year) - 15 tackles, 13 assists, 16 sacks (new CJFL single season record), 1 interception for a touchdown
Outstanding Linebacker – Dylan Chapdelaine – Vancouver Island Raiders - 42 tackles (led BCFC), 5 assists, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions
Outstanding Defensive Back – Brennan Van Nistlerooy – Okanagan Sun - 24 tackles, 12 assists, 2 blocked kicks, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions
Outstanding Special Teams – Robbie Yochim – Okanagan Sun - 43 total returns, 759 return yards, averaging 17.6 yards a return. Also 5 solo special teams tackles and 1 assist.
Rookie of the Year – Jamie Ybarra – Vancouver Island Raiders - 68 completions, 1,382 yards, 13 touchdowns, a completion percentage of 58.6% and an efficiency rating of 109.2%
Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year – Evan Foster – Langley Rams - 15 tackles, 13 assists, 16 sacks (new CJFL single season record), 1 interception for a touchdown
Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year – Whitman Tomusiak – Vancouver Island Raiders - 38 catches, 660 yards and 7 touchdowns
Anthony Daley – Langley Rams (second consecutive year)
Tyler Oldendorf – Vancouver Island Raiders (second consecutive year)
Devon Kozar – Okanagan Sun
Shawn Mellesmoen – Langley Rams
Cameron Brown – Kamloops Broncos
Kyle Albertini – Langley Rams - 94 carries, 838 yards, 4 touchdowns, 8.9 yards a carry helped win him 2013 rushing title.
Alex Bradley – Okanagan Sun – 96 carries, 725 yards, 5 touchdowns and average of 7.6 yards a carry
Whitman Tomusiak – Vancouver Island Raiders (second consecutive year) – 38 catches, 660 yards and 7 touchdowns
Eric Eggleston - 44 catches, 777 yards and 9 touchdowns
Tommy Howes – Okanagan Sun (second consecutive year) – 58 receptions, 750 yards, 10 touchdowns
Malcolm Williams – Langley Rams (second consecutive year) – 34 receptions, 638 yards and 9 touchdowns
Jamie Ybarra – Vancouver Island Raiders - 68 completions, 1,382 yards, 13 touchdowns, a completion percentage of 58.6% and an efficiency rating of 109.2%
Ash Gayat– Vancouver Island Raiders – 18 tackles, 10 assists, 8.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries
Braden McCarthy – Kamloops Broncos – 33 tackles, 5 assists, 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
Evan Foster – Langley Rams (second consecutive year) – 15 tackles, 13 assists, 16 sacks (new CJFL single season record), 1 interception for a touchdown
Jonas Gering – Okanagan Sun – 31 tackles, 8 assists, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Dylan Chapdelaine – Vancouver Island Raiders (third consecutive year) – 42 tackles (led BCFC), 5 assists, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions
Grady Chalmers Kamloops Broncos- 29 tackles, 15 assists, 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown
Chris Pastro – Westshore Rebels – 34 tackles, 14 assists, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery
Joe Patko – Langley Rams – 22 tackles, 6 assists, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions. 2 fumble recoveries
Brennan Van Nistlerooy – Okanagan Sun (also won in 2011) – 24 tackles, 12 assists, 2 blocked kicks, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions
Jack Rush – Okanagan Sun – 33 tackles, 11 assists, five batted balls, 1 fumble recovery, 4 interceptions, 1 touchdown
Robbie Yochim - Okanagan Sun (second consecutive year) – 17 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 7 interceptions (tied for BCFC lead), 1 touchdown
Tanner Hamade – Langley Rams (also won in 2011) – 14 tackles, 2 assists, 1 fumble recovery, 4 interceptions
Cole Bishop – VI Raiders – 14 tackles, 1 assist, 5 interceptions
Dan Erickson – Valley Huskers – 57 punts, netting 1765 yards and averaging 31 yards a kick, 1 single
Steve Thomas – Langley Rams – 15-21 in field goals, longest of 41 yards, 71.4%
Robbie Yochim – Okanagan Sun – 43 total returns, 759 return yards, averaging 17.6 yards a return
The 2013 Cullen Cup Championship game will feature the Vancouver Island Raiders (1) host the Langley Rams (3) on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Caledonia Park in Nanaimo. The winner moves onto the National Semi-Final Jostens Cup in Ontario on Saturday October 26, 2013.
Photo: Wayne Moore - Kelowna - Castanet
Rams DB Joe Lester intercepts a pass 2 minutes into Sunday's BCFC semi-final
Photo: Wayne Moore - Kelowna - Castanet
Lester avoids one final tackle on his way to a 106 yard interception return
An Okanagan Sun season that started with so much promise ended in disappointment.
The visiting Langley Rams avenged a regular season loss when it counted most, beating the Sun 24-13 in the BCFC semi-final Sunday afternoon at the Apple Bowl.
Running back Kyle Albertini ran for 169 yards on 21 carries and quarterback Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren passed for 144 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Rams to Sunday's win and set up a repeat of last year's BCFC final with the VI Raiders.
Three first half turnovers, untimely penalties and the failure to hit the scoreboard in the second half doomed the Sun who failed to reach the BCFC title game for the fourth time in five years.
The Sun appeared ready to jump on the Rams early, taking the opening kickoff and driving deep into Rams territory.
However, an errant pass by quarterback Theo Deezar landed in the waiting arms of defensive back Joe Lester who rambled 104 yards down the right sideline to put the Rams up early.
"That touchdown early in the game, that's a 14 point swing if you look at it," a dejected Sun coach Shane Beatty stated after the game.
"We battled. I thought we battled and played hard in every phase of the game and unfortunately came out on the wrong end."
The Sun battled back from the early hole to take the lead by the end of the quarter.
Thomas Huber connected on a 17-yard field goal following a Rams' fumble and Deezar hit a streaking Pierre Luc Lord for a 53 yard major on the final play of the opening quarter to put the Sun out front 10-7.
Gilbert-Knorren, known more for his legs than his arm took over in the second quarter.
He hit Kyle Pich from nine yards out and Malcolm Williams on a 26-yard strike late in the quarter to put the Rams up for good 20-13.
Ram kicker Steven Thomas closed out the scoring with a single off a wide 24-yard field goal and a game clinching 40-yarder with just 3:22 left on the clock.
"It was hard fought. I knew this was going to be a battle," says Beatty.
"They are so dangerous on offence and we did everything we could to shut them down to 17 points. I thought our kids played their butts off today."
The Rams accumulated 398 yards in total offence including 254 on the ground while the Sun amassed 432 yards - most of those through the air.
The Sun were held to only 76 yards along the ground, mainly due to an injury to starting running back Alex Bradley who picked up just 13 yards on three carries.
"He hurt his hip early on the kick-off return and only came in a couple of times after that. I think he got a pretty good hip pointer," says Beatty.
Deezar on the other hand was busy all day completing 26 of 48 pass attempts for 356 yard, two interceptions and a touchdown.
"I thought we could throw all over these guys," added Beatty.
"We had them firing early, we had them running around. I thought we had it but we just missed some reads and then (defensive lineman) Evan Foster came up with three or four big plays on us."
Despite an early exit Beatty believes the franchise is going in the right direction considering some of the on-filed and off-field turmoil surrounding the club in recent years.
"Huge step in the right direction. I thought we could go a long way with these kids. We will be back next year and we will be better I guarantee that."
That process of building for next year will begin for Beatty and his staff Tuesday.
"I'll go back and relax tonight and tomorrow then start recruiting on Tuesday," says Beatty.
"I"m going to visit some programs in the off-season and go to some clinics and talk to some guys about certain things we need to do and just certain some things up."
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