Sun give away two points

It's a rare day when Okanagan Sun head coach Ben Macauley loses his cool with his players during the traditional post game, on-field huddle.

Saturday was one of those rare days.

Macauley was agitated with selfish penalties and poor execution to what he called an inferior Langley Rams squad in a 20-18 defeat in the club's home opener.

"It's just frustrating because I don;t think Langley is even a playoff team. I don't believe they're good enough to be on the same field as us most of the time," he said following the game.

"We handed them two quarters of football. We didn't start playing until the third quarter. We showed we're a better football team for a quarter-and-a-half, and that was good enough."

In a word, the Sun were awful in the opening half. They managed just 70 yards of total offence, and were able to come away with just a pair of single points off the foot of Isaac Wegner.

One off a 76-yard punt single and the other from a wide 28-yard field goal after Connor Richard's blocked punt put the ball on the Rams 37.

The Rams weren't much better, but hit on some big plays right at the end of the quarter. Up 3-1, Jake Firlotte returned a punt 82 yards for the game's first major with less than 90 seconds to go in the half.

Then after a Keith Zyla interception gave the Rams the ball at the Sun 53, Langley needed just three plays to put the second major on the board when Duncan Little hit Jevon Cottoy with an 18-yard strike.

It could have been worse, but a 75 yard touchdown strike to Cottoy was called back when the speedy receiver was flagged for being offside.

With injuries to Jakob Loucks and in the backfield, the offence has had trouble getting untracked over recent weeks. That was no different in the opening half.

"We did a much better job of having the right plays called, but now it's execution.

"We're still missing open receivers. Keith's still shaking off the rust a little bit, but I think he played well enough most times...but we're still getting dropped balls.

We saw what happens when we get the ball into the hands of (Javen) Kaechele and Brenden (Hansen) and (Kelton) Kouri, those guys can make plays. I think we've done a better job with that, but we still have a long way to go."

In the second half, Zyla was able to find those playmakers, especially Kaechele and Kouri.

On their first possession of the second half, Zyla found Kaechele on a slant across the middle. There was nobody near him, allowing Kaechele to stroll in from 37 yards out.

Moments later, Jordan Rae picked off Little giving the Sun offence the ball at the Rams 24. Four plays later, the Sun were first and goal at the one, but Kouri was stuffed behind of the line of scrimmage and fumbled, snuffing out a potential game-typing touchdown..

The Sun did get two points moments later when the Rams conceded the safety after being stopped deep in their own end.

With the momentum back on the side sideline, and the ball at the Rams 30, Zyla needed just two plays to put the Sun back in front. From the 19, he took a high snap while in the shotgun, but still managed to somehow shot put a swing pass over a defender to Kouri, who had enough daylight down the left sideline to find the end zone.

The extra point put the Sun up 18-17.

But, with a little more than two minutes left, and the ball on their own 24, the Rams, aided by 25 yards in penalties, and a 14 yard reception to get to the Sun 43.

On second a 12, Max Joseph was stopped on a screen pass to the left side, but was able to reverse his field and beat the pursuit to the right for a 26 yard gain. They worked the ball inside the five, before Jaden Sheilan booted the game-winning 11-yard field goal with 21 seconds left.

The Sun to the Rams 50 and, with more than a dozen seconds left, Zyla had a chance to run the ball deep into Rams territory, but tried to make a play through the air. A 58 yard field goal try from Wegner came up about five yards short.

"It really never should have come down to one or two plays. We really never should have been close enough for them to run that screen."

Along with the game, the Sun also lost the services of defensive lineman Nicholas Dheilly to an ankle injury early in the third quarter. After the game, Dheilly was on crutches with ice taped to the injured ankle.

Macauley says the injury doesn't appear to be too serious, but said it came as a result of a cheap shot.

"Its a result of players taking low shots on him which the refs have been warned a number of times.

"The film will be reviewed and sent for the league to review, because when guys are taking cheap shots at a guy down low, that can be career ending."

Macauley wouldn't say whether Dheilly or Loucks would be available when the Sun host the first place VI Raiders next Saturday.

The Raiders and Valley Huskers remain deadlocked atop the BCFC standings after lopsided wins Saturday over the Westshore Rebels and Kamloops Broncos respectively.

Both teams are 4-1. The Sun sit at 2-2-1.


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