This one was never close.
The battle for top spot in the BC Football Conference was as one-sided as a game of this magnitude could get.
The Okanagan Sun, in their home opener, dismantled the previously unbeaten Westshore Rebels 65-29, a score which in some respects flattered the visitors.
The Sun scored early, they scored often, and in every way imaginable, on offence, on defence and special teams.
The only blip was a safety they conceded when hemmed inside their own 10 on their first possession.
It didn't take long to flip the script.
Mike O'Shea, as he did during much of his rookie season, ignited the bench and the crowd, taking a punt following the Rebels first possession at his own 31, found a seam and galloped down the right sideline to paydirt.
Aiden Hennessey recovered a fumble on the Rebels next offensive play, setting the Sun up at the Westshore 37.
Four plays later, Dominic Britton hit Colby Milleto from eight yards out for the first of his five touchdown passes on the night.
On their next possession, Britton needed just three plays to find the end zone. One second-and-10, he found running back Jevon Garwood on a middle screen, and the speedy back did the rest, outrunning the defence for a 76 yard touchdown.
They had to settle for a Liam Attwood field goal on their next possession after getting great field position following Isaac Wegner's first pick of the season.
They blew it open in the second, outscoring the Rebels 28-6 to take a 51-8 lead into the locker room.
"We saw what we thought we were going to see, a strong offensive team, very good at running the ball and throwing the ball, and we just happened to match up what they were doing and pick em off when we needed to," said head coach Travis Miller, downplaying a 36 point victory.
"It was a great game. Our guys matched the intensity of Westshore, and we came out firing on all cylinders."
Britton opened the second quarter much the way he ended the first, hitting O'Shea from 21 yards out on the first play after the Sun recovered another Rebels fumble.
After a pair of Westshore field goals, the Sun offence took advantage of another Rebels mistake. A roughing the kicker penalty gave the Sun the football again on their own 43.
Britton hooked up with Coltin Peterson on a 30 yard strike. A roughing penalty set the Sun up on the 23 where Garwood finished off the drive with a spectacular run, breaking through five or six tackles before bulling his way into the end zone.
"I just followed my blocks and, you know, kept going," said Garwood.
"I trust my O-line - they'll get it done."
"Jevon is playing out of this world," added Miller. "We knew he was going to be as strong player for us, but today he really showed who he is."
Hennessey scooped up another fumble on the Rebels next possession and rambled 47 yards for another major before Britton hit Blaise Beauchemin with a 17-yard strike in the dying moments of the half.
The same two hooked up a second time on the final play of the third quarter before Tristen Peddle barrelled in from a yard out following another Rebels turnover to closeout the Sun scoring.
The Rebels got two late touchdowns against the Sun second string to close out the scoring.
Unofficially, Britton finished the night 12 of 23 for 319 yards, and five touchdowns. The five majors equalled a career high set during an 87-0 thumping of Kamloops last season.
Garwood had 150 yards of all purpose yardage, 74 on the ground on nine carries and the one touchdown catch of 76 yards.
The Rebels managed more than 360 yards of offence, however much of that came in the second half when the Sun started emptying their bench.
The Sun forced six turnovers while turning the ball over just twice.
At 3-0, the Sun now sit atop the BCFC standings, ahead of the 3-1 Rebels by virtue of the head-to-head tie breaker.
They'll host the VI Raiders next Saturday night at the Apple Bowl.
The backdrop for the Okanagan Sun home opener couldn't be more compelling.
A first place showdown against a team led by your former coach under the bright lights of the Apple Bowl.
With the sudden implosion of the reigning national champion Langley Rams (0-3), it appears as if the battle for top spot may come down to a pair of head-to-head contests between the only two undefeated teams left in the BCFC, the 2-0 Sun and the 3-0 Westshore Rebels.
The schedule maker couldn't have scripted a better opponent for the Sun home opener Saturday evening than a date with the Shane Beatty-led Rebels.
"Our guys are completely jacked for this game," said Sun head coach Travis Miller.
"Honestly, I don't know that I have seen the guys more excited about a home game, and an opportunity to play for first place. It's going to be great."
The Rebels have climbed to the top of the league with a high-powered offence and stout defence. The team has average 40 points a game while allowing opponents just 15 per contest.
Beatty, as he has shown during his time with the Rebels and the Sun is as fiery and as intense as any coach in junior football anywhere in the country.
And, Miller says, this team is playing with that same personality.
"They are an extremely talented team, very intense team on and off the field.
"They are very well coached and they mimic their head coach, so you know you are getting the best of that team."
The Rebels are led by quarterback Te Jessie, who leads the BCFC in yards through the air (785), touchdowns (8), completions (46) and completion percentage (62.2%).
They feature two of the top three receivers in Kieran Poissant and Zion Brown-Dogbie and the number two rusher in Gerren Hardisty.
"From our standpoint they are the team to beat in our conference," said Miller.
"Shane has them completely primed and ready to go and that defence is solid across the board. It's a match made in heaven."
The Sun have struggled somewhat of the gate despite their 2-0 record. They have had a hard time moving the ball consistently on offence, mainly due to untimely penalties while the defence has been guilty of giving up some big plays.
The defence has also shown a consistent ability to get after the quarterback and make big stops at key points in the game.
Saturday's game, the first of three straight at home for the Sun kicks off at 7 p.m.
The Okanagan Sun needed another big second half to turn the tables on the rival Langley Rams.
The Sun had marked this game on the calendar as soon as the schedule was released - looking for payback in a building where their season came to a sudden end a year ago.
But it took a stout defensive effort and a 17-point second half to pull it off.
The Rams got on the board on their opening possession when surprise starter Tristen Secord-Yanciw marched the Rams down the field before hitting Alex France with a 46-yard touchdown strike.
The Sun defence held firm the rest of the way, bending at times, but never breaking.
The Rams only threat came at the end of the first half, when they failed to get anything after getting a first-and-goal at the Sun one while nursing a 7-3 lead.
A delay of game penalty took the ball to the 11, then three plays later on third down from the three, the Sun snuffed out a screen pass at the line of scrimmage to take the ball on downs.
The only Sun points came on a 22-yard field goal from Marcus Burden. The score was set up by Mike O'Shea's punt return inside the Langley 20.
Untimely penalties were the story for the Sun in the first half. A Jevon Garwood run to the one-yard line on third-and-two was wiped out by a holding penalty. Holding penalties also wiped out long gains that could have helped the Sun get into scoring position.
The Sun took over in the second half thanks in large part to a pair of fake punts.
After burning the Rams once for a first down on a fake punt on their first possession of the second half, the Sun ran the same play on their next possession as Matt Lord took the ball into Rams territory.
A few plays later, Dominic hit a streaking O'Shea down the middle for a 39-yard strike.
They never looked back.
Midway through the fourth, Britton capped off a five-play drive with a five-yard run to put the Sun up by 10.
The touchdown was set up by a 35-yard strike to Noah Bymak down to the Rams 20. A horse collar tackle moved the ball to the five.
Burden closed out the scoring with a 23-yard field goal in the dying seconds. The three pointer came seconds after a touchdown pass to Nathan Tonogai was negated by an illegal block.
Both teams had difficulty moving the ball consistently in part because of strong play by the defence and in part because of untimely penalties.
The Sun forced two turnovers and the Rams one, all on downs.
Saturday's win moves the Sun to the top of the BCFC standings after two weeks while the Rams are reeling after dropping their first two.
The Rams play in Chilliwack next weekend while the Sun get the weekend off.
They'll return to the field Saturday, Aug. 13 when they entertain the unbeaten Westshore Rebels in their home opener.
Okanagan Sun head coach Travis Miller cautions against reading too much into the Langley Rams upset loss to the Westshore Rebels last weekend.
The Rebels jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead, then held on for a 36-20 victory in a game played in Langley.
Despite that start, Miller says the Rams are still the team to beat.
"They are the defending national champions, so I don't think anybody can treat them anything else other than that. There are a lot of national champions who have lost games the following year but still hoisted the trophy at the end of the year," said Miller in advance of Saturday's showdown between the Sun and Rams in Langley.
"From our perspective and hopefully from the fans perspective, this is the defending national champions and you have to treat them with the respect they have deserved.
"For us it's an opportunity at redemption, for them it's an opportunity to refocus. I think for everybody that watches, it will be a great game."
Redemption for the Sun would be some payback for the way the 2021 season ended, a 7-4 defeat in Langley in the BCFC final. A win that propelled the Rams to the national title.
While the Rams are licking their wounds, the Sun come in following a 50-19 dismantling of the VI Raiders to kick off the season.
After a typical Sun slow start, the offence finally started rolling late in the first half, amassing 583 yards in total offence including 417 yards through the air.
Slow, said Miller in an understatement and, while he was pleased with the way the offence was able to move the ball, he wished it was a little more consistent.
"We are trying some different things this week," said Miller of trying to avoid the slow start.
"Tinkering the way in which we start our pre-game, the way in which we travel. All those things to try and find that happy medium and something that is going to work for the team."
The defence surrendered a couple of touchdowns through the air, including a 75 yard bomb in the opening quarter, but was able to register four quarterback sacks and cause havoc in the offensive backfield much of the night.
That defence, led by defensive lineman Kelon Thomas will get ever more formidable this week with the return of linebacker Tyler Going.
"For any team to get an all-Canadian linebacker back in the fray is always a positive. But, we've also got Isaac Wegner back, we have Kamar Bishop in town and Tyler Turner is back, so we get a third of our defensive players back this week which hopefully will lead to a few less points on the scoreboard."
The Sun get the bye next weekend before opening up the home portion of their schedule Aug. 13 when they entertain the Westshore Rebels.
The Okanagan Sun broke open a tight game with five second half touchdowns in a 50-19 dismantling of the VI Raiders in the BC Football Conference opener for both teams Saturday in Nanaimo.
But, the game too a backseat to a horrific injury to Nanaimo offensive lineman Gage Geiger with just over two minutes left and the Sun leading 36-13.
Geiger was tended to by medical staff from both teams for more than half an hour before paramedics arrived to take him to Nanaimo Regional Hospital.
The extent of the injury is not yet known.
The Sun started slowly - unable to take advantage of great field position throughout the opening quarter. They began their first four drives on the Raiders side of the field, but were only able to come away with 10 points, a Liam Attwood field goal from 19 yards out and Tristan Peddle's two yard run.
The Raiders held the lead briefly in the opening quarter when Ben Chomolok hit Moren Bradbrooke with a 75 yard major on the first play after Attwood opened the scoring.
A conceded safety late in the quarter and Attwood's second field goal of the half from 34 yards out, set up by JJ Heaton's first career BCFC interception, put the Sun up 15-7 heading into the locker room.
The Raiders did move the ball in the second quarter, but interceptions by Nick Bannister and Heaton deep in Sun territory snuffed out both drives.
The Sun had chances to add to the lead in the open 30 minutes, but a fumble on the Nanaimo six ended one drive and the half ended with the Sun on the VI 13, thinking they had time for one final play.
It was a different team in the second half.
Dominic Britton, who completed just nine of 8 in the opening half, was more effective throwing the ball over the final 30 minutes.
He scrambled to buy time before hitting a wide open Noah Bynak for a 70 yard strike on their second possession of the half.
After Chomolok and Bradbrooke hooked up for a second major, the Sun took over, scoring four unanswered touchdowns to hit the 50 point mark.
Britton ran in from one yard out late in the third quarter then defensive back Garrett Cape scooped up a fumble and ran five yards early in the fourth to put the Sun up 36-13.
After the injury to Geiger, backup quarterback Liam Kroger marched the Sun down the field, capping off a three play drive with an eight yard strike to Farrell Kenfack.
Grayson Stratham scooped up a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and ran 12 yards for the Sun final touchdown of the night.
One the last play of the game Kroger, attempting one final pass, was hit and fumbled, allowing the Raiders to scoop up the fumble and rumble the length of the field for one final score.
The Sun did receive a bit of a scare when Britton briefly limped off the field after taking a hard hit in the third quarter. He missed just three plays before returning.
Unofficially, Britton was eight for 10 for 172 yards, one touchdown and one interception during an efficient second half.
Peddle and Jevan Garwood also showed flashes splitting time in the backfield.
The Sun take their 1-0 record into Langley next Saturday to face the reigning national champion Rams.
The Rams opened defence of their national championship on a sour note, opening the 2022 season with a 36-20 defeat at the hands of the Westshore Rebels.
The Sun will open their home schedule Saturday, Aug. 13 against the Rebels.
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