Okanagan Sun defensive back, Robbie Yochim, has been recognized for his strong opening week of the BC Football Conference.
Yochim was named the BCFC's defensive player of the week.
The fourth year Rutland Secondary grad had a pair of interceptions, returning one 75 yards for a touchdown in a 41-7 thumping of the Chilliwack Huskers Saturday.
He also had four solo tackles and returned four punts for 126 yards.
Yochim and the Sun look to make it two in a row on the road when they take on Langley Saturday night.
Vancouver Island Raiders receiver Marshall Cook was named offensive player of the week after tying a BCFC record with 14 receptions for 208 yards and a touchdown in the Raiders 44-36 loss in Langley.
Langley kick returner John Beckerleg is the special teams' player of the week.
Beckerleg returned four kick-offs totally 155 yards, including a 90 yard return for a touchdown. He also returned four punts giving the Rams good field position.
The Okanagan Sun were superior in all three facets of the game Saturday in a 41-7 thumping of the Valley Huskers Saturday in the opening game of the BCFC season for both teams.
The defence and special teams were particularly outstanding in snuffing out Chilliwack drives providing good field position for the offence.
Robbie Yochim led the defensive charge with a pair of interceptions including a 66 yard pick-six that gave the Sun a 24-0 lead less than four minutes into the third quarter.
In all, the Sun secondary came away with four interceptions.
Brennan Van Nistelrooy was the spark plug in the opening half.
The veteran defensive back blocked a Huskers field goal attempt in the opening quarter then, on third and 35 from his own 25, he ran a fake punt 40 yards into Chilliwack territory.
That led to a 19-yard Alex Bradley touchdown which gave the Sun a 10-0 lead heading into the locker room at half time.
The Sun struck quickly in the third quarter.
After Dexter Janke returned the opening kickoff 64 yards, quarterback Cam Bedore hit Zach Regert for a 34 yard major putting the Sun up 17-0.
Trailing 27-0 late in the quarter the Huskers put their only points on the board as quarterback Dylan LaPrairie tossed a 51-yard touchdown bomb.
The touchdown snapped the Sun's regular season shutout streak at 14 quarters dating back to last season.
Mount Boucherie grad Josiah Joseph came off the bench after the Huskers major in relief of Bedore and engineered a pair of touchdown drives in the final quarter.
Joseph scampered in at the end of both drives from 18 and three yards out to close out the scoring.
Hunter Verhulst kicked field goals of 21 and 38 yards while also converting on all five Sun majors.
The Sun had a chance to put even more points on the board but untimely penalties cost them those opportunities.
Janke had a 100 yard punt return touchdown called back for a roughing the kicker penalty.
The Sun lost the services of defensive back Matt McConnell in the opening half.
McConnell was taken to hospital for x-rays after it was reported he had taken a helmet to the sternum.
The Sun (1-0) will remain on the road next weekend when they visit the Langley Rams.
The Rams, who knocked the Sun out of the playoffs a year ago, opened the season Saturday with a 44-36 win at home over the defending BC Champion VI Raiders.
The Okanagan Sun kick off a brand new BC Football Conference season Saturday in Chilliwack.
The Sun, coming off an 8-2 regular season record will look to get the season started on the right foot against a Chilliwack team which has never beaten the Sun on the field in 27 meetings.
The Huskers were awarded a 1-0 forfeit in the opening game last year when the Sun were deemed to have used an ineligible player. The Sun won that game handily on the field 66-10.
It was a decision that cost the Sun first place and a chance to host the BCFC semi-final...a game they would lose 24-13 in Nanaimo.
"We're way ahead (of last year)," second year coach Shane Beatty says on his weekly coaches show.
"Way ahead on special teams, way ahead on defence and I would say with the offensive line and the blocking schemes we're way ahead in that respect as well."
Beatty expects a dominating special teams squad to be even better this year.
"We've changed a couple of returns and obviously we are going to go after the kicks every time as well," says Beatty.
"Our goal is to block 20 kicks. We got 15 or 16 last year. We set a record last year and that's our goal again this year, to set another record."
Defensively, the Sun also established a record to close out the 2013 regular season, pitching three straight shutouts to close out the campaign, outscoring opponents 142-0 in the process.
On offence, Cam Bedore comes into his third season with the Sun as the starting quarterback.
Bedore was the starter during the disastrous 2012 season before giving way to Theo Deezar last year.
In limited action last season Bedore threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns. He ran for for another 108 yards and a touchdown.
Last season, the Sun were able to feast on the bottom feeders in the BCFC going a combined 7-1 (including forfeit) against the lowly three of Chilliwack, Kamloops and Victoria.
They were 2-1 against the VI Raiders and Langley.
In the unbalanced world of the BCFC, the Sun will face Langley and the Raiders six times and the other three four times.
Beatty says the team will have to step up this season and improve the mental side of the game.
"Consistency, less mental errors. We're going to be physical, we're going to be fast," says Beatty.
"We just have to cut down on the mental errors and play our game, our style. Dictate to them, don't let them dictate to us."
As for the season opener, Beatty says if the team does their thing and reacts to what Chilliwack gives them, they'll be fine.
"Let us take it to them on defence and let the offence adapt, slowly come around and take some shots when we can."
The Sun will play in Langley the following week before opening up the home portion of the schedule Aug 9 against the defending BC champion Raiders.
Former Okanagan Sun linebacker Max Caron has found a home in the Canadian Football League.
Caron was taken by the Calgary Stampeders in the second round (16th overall) of the CFL draft Tuesday night.
The Kingston, ON native spent two seasons with the Sun in 2008 and 2009.
His 2007 season was cut short when he tore his left ACL in training camp.
Over hi two years with the Sun Caron amassed 62 tackles, two sacks, five fumble recoveries, and interception and two touchdowns.
He parlayed his time with the Sun into a four year college career at Concordia University in Montreal.
In 2011, his second year at Concordia, Caron was awarded the Presidents' Trophy as the top defensive player in Canadian University Football.
Caron headed into Tuesday's draft ranked 10th among prospects eligible for the draft.
He was the only former Sun player taken in this year's CFL draft.
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.
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