Sun put title on the line

If the first two meetings between these teams is any indication, the BC Football conference final should be knock-down, drag-out fight.

The Cullen Cup championship game between the defending champion Okanagan Sun and Westshore Rebels in the Victoria suburb of Langford Saturday will not only crown a new league champion, but will also determine who hosts the Canadian Bowl in two weeks time.

Saturday's game should be a classic high powered offence versus stingy defence.

The Rebels come in with the number one offence in the league while the Sun had arguably the number one defence.

The Sun were able to keep league rushing leader Jamal Lyles in check. Lyles, who rambled for 1,604 yards during the season, was held to just 199 yards over the two meeting with the Sun.

However, he did find the end zone three times, two of those in the Rebels 29-23 win over the Sun on the island.

Sun head coach Ben Macauley said stopping Lyles is the key to any success the Sun will have Saturday.

"As long as we are playing fundamental football in the secondary with our coverage, we like our odds in the passing game, so we'd like to shut down their run," said Macauley before boarding the team bus for Victoria.

"Then we force them to do something thy haven't done as well, and that's throw the ball consistently. They've made some big plays, but we're OK with one or two big plays."

Rebels quarterback Ashton Mackinnon did have some success throwing the ball in their win over the Sun. He completed 15 of 28 passes for 262 yards, but also threw three interceptions.

That day, the offence was unable to take advantage of those mistakes.

And, while he agrees it is a classic match-up, Macauley thinks a third phase of the game could be the determining factor.

"One of the biggest things we haven't really touched on this year from a media standpoint is special teams. We started out pretty rough in that area but we've improved.

"We have a great defence, but at times we have been putting our defence in positions where they are in no-win situations. Even if we are struggling on offence, we're able to win the field-position battle and make their drives very long."

He said if teams have to drive the ball the length of the field on a continuous basis, it could wear them down.

Offensively, Foster Martens will likely get the call under centre to start the game. Martens left the semi-final game early after taking a knock to the head. The extra week off helped him get ready for Saturday.

Martens was consistent against the Rebels, completing 27 of 38 passes for 379 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He was not intercepted.

But, the team will have to move the ball, at least consistently enough, to have a chance.

Macauley said the offence has had to fight through a lot of inconsistencies with so many new faces on that side of the ball.

But, he said, they have found an identity, which is to line up with a lot of different looks and formations.

Saturday's game kicks off at 4 p.m.

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