Rams put final nail in Sun season
Oct 13, 2013 / 7:30 pm
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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