Sun, offence wilt in Langley

The Okanagan Sun inability to hit the end zone during a dominating opening quarter proved to be their undoing.

The Sun settled for three field goals in building up an 11-0 lead early in the second quarter but did little else offensively in a 33-20 defeat at the hands of the home town Langley Rams.

They ran the ball at will as head coach Shane Beatty promised they would, mainly on the legs of running back Dylan Fortune and quarterback Cam Bedore.

On one occasion they were first and goal at the Rams one but an offside penalty and two failed attempts at the end zone forced Hunter Verhulst to boot a 12 yard field goal. That drive was set up by a nifty kick return by Robbie Yochim deep into Langley territory.

A 25-yard gain by Brennan Van Nistelrroy off a fake punt early in the second quarter set the Sun up deep in Rams territory again, setting up Verhulst's third field goal from 33 yards out.

He also hit from 41 yards moments after the Rams had conceded a safety in punt formation.

"I'm going to go back and watch the film before I comment on that, but we have to capitalize on those opportunities and we're not," says Beatty.

After that, the game unraveled.

"We kept trying to run the ball, but I think their ends just made adjustments. They put a big kid on the nose instead of a smaller kid and he's harder to move. We had some crossing routes open over the middle and just missed them. I think we just panicked a bit on offence," says Beatty.

"This one's on us as a coaching staff."

A Bedore interception and back to back unnecessary roughness penalties put the ball inside the Sun 10. The Rams only managed to get a field goal, but the momentum was beginning to swing.

Minutes later Van Nistelrooy had the ball slip out of his hands when he attempted to punt on what was to be another fake punt.

The Rams took over on the Sun 31 and one play later Dylan Tucker hit Daniel English to cut the deficit to one.

Langley took a 13-11 lead into the locker room when Steve Thomas connected from 44 yards out as time expired in the first half.

The Sun took back the lead midway through the third quarter off a Landon King interception put the ball on the Rams 20. After two penalties put the ball inside the 10, Fortune ran over from five yards out to give the Sun an 18-13 lead.

Langley got a 33 yard field goal to again cut the deficit to two heading into the final quarter.

The Sun had a chance to move into the Rams end of the field on yet another fake punt, however a penalty would turn the game for good according to Beatty.

"It's 18-16 for us, we fake punt and we had 13 men on the field, and we had it and would have had the ball on their 40. That's the turning point of the game."

Tore Corrado took over from there. He took a dump pass and went 42 yards on second and 22 to set up the go ahead field goal then hauled in a 56-yard scoring strike from Tucker to to seal it.

Tucker bulled his way in from four yards out in the dying seconds to give the Rams their 13 point margin of victory.

Beatty says the Sun defence, which spent a lot of time on the field over the final three quarters, wore down in the fourth quarter when the Rams outscored the Sun 17-2.

The Sun were also guilty of several major penalties after the whistle - something that doesn't concern the head coach too much.

"Three face masking penalties. Just trying to be aggressive. That's a hard one to tell the kids to stop being aggressive.

They're throwing up their hands and inadvertently they're getting on the face mask. That's a hard one to say not to do."

The Sun running attack was diminished somewhat with the absence of number one running back Alex Bradley who missed the game due to injury.

The Sun, 1-1, will host the defending league champion Vancouver Island Raiders in the home opener Saturday at the Apple Bowl.

It's the first of a home and home series between the two rivals.


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