Mistakes cost Sun

Mistakes on all three sides of the football cost the Okanagan Sun their first defeat of the season.

It came Saturday, as the Sun fell 16-13 to former head coach Shane Beatty and the Westshore Rebels in a battle of 2-0 teams.

In what was a defensive struggle, it was the Rebels defence that produced the biggest play of the game, and put the Sun in a hole they couldn't climb out of.

Tied at 3-3 midway through second, and the ball on their 19, backup quarterback Ethan Newman tried a lateral pass to running back Malcolm Miller on first down.

The ball sailed over Miller's head and bounced into the end zone. Because it was a backwards pass, the ball was live, allowing Rebels defensive back Kieran Benedito to fall on it for a touchdown.

It was the Rebels only major of the night.

Both teams had some success moving the football between the 20s, the difference, the Rebels were able to convert on their opportunities when they got deep into Sun territory, the Sun were not.

Kyle Clarke booted three field goals of 31, 21 and 10 yards, while Sun kicker Isaac Wegner connected on a 20-yard field goal, but missed two others from 21 and 29 yards out

One of those drives stalled due to another mental miscue. After Kelton Kouri busted back-to-back runs of 64 and nine yards to get the ball to the Rebels 11, a missed handoff to Kouri on and one forced the Sun to settle for three instead of a chance for seven.

"I think there were so many errors out there. We were making errors in week one, we made errors in week two. We made errors tonight, and they hurt us," said Sun head coach Jamie Boreham.

"They came back to bite us, which was a big reason why we lost. Offensively, special teams and defence, too many errors which results in too many points on the board. We didn't give ourselves a chance to win tonight."

The backbreaker came on the Rebels ensuing drive, when the Sun had a chance to get the ball back trailing by just six.

"We have second and 20, and we have a player take a roughing the passer penalty, and they get an automatic first down.

"They would have been punting, but that drive ended up in three points for them. If they don;t have those three points, it's a different story."

That field goal put the Rebels up nine with three minutes left.

In the dying second, the Sun did finally find the end zone, when Miller took an Alex Douglas shovel pass and scampered 42 yards for a touchdown with just 13 seconds left.

The two-point convert was unsuccessful. They were unable to execute the on-side kick.

Douglas, who played three quarters Saturday, finished the night 8-18 for 126 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Kouri ran the ball six times for 96 yards, most of those on the one 64-yard run.

Rebels running back Zachary Lubin was the Rebels workhorse. He carried the ball 24 times for 123 yards. Quarterback Shawn Lal completed 19-32 passes for 213 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The Sun hit the road next weekend to face the 1-2 VI Raiders. The Raiders earned their first win of the season Saturday, beating up on the winless Kamloops Broncos 47-17.



Sun, Rebels 1st place battle

The Okanagan Sun will need to find a way to get their passing game on track if they want to stay perfect early in the BC Football Conference season.

Rookie quarterback Alex Douglas struggled in his first complete game with the Sun last weekend, completing just four of 21 passes for 67 yards.

In his defence, Douglas spent a lot of the night running for his life as the Valley Huskers put a lot of pressure on the Sun pilot.

"We didn't execute our blocking good enough. System-wise our patterns weren't as good as they needed to be," said Sun head coach Jamie Boreham, who refused to place the blame on the shoulders of his young signal caller.

Presumably, the Sun focussed a lot of attention on that phase of the game during practice this week.

There's not much to worry about in the running game where Malcolm Miller and Kelton Kouri are second and third in the conference in rushing after two years.

Defensively, the Sun have allowed just touchdowns, both in the second half of last week's 21-16 win in Chilliweack.

But, the Rebels provide a jump in competition for a defence that hasn't given up much in in the way of yardage through the first two games.

"Defensively, we're OK. There's still a lot of room for improvement in the run game and the pass game.

"We gave up some stuff that were just mental errors. We have to stop those little mistakes."

As much as the Sun  have struggled to throw the ball, the Rebels have had their struggles there as well.

The Rebels quarterbacks have combined to complete just 20 of 57 passes, however, Shawn Lal, who played last week against the VI Raiders, passed for 326 yards, much of that (237 yards) came on four completions to Jeffroy Ojong.

"They are a pretty solid team. They've played two good teams and came out some wins. They have some really good athletes. We'll have to be on top of our game and make sure we are executing."

The Sun and Rebels kickoff Saturday night at 7 p.m.

All Kelowna minor football players in uniform get into the game free.

The Sun are also encouraging fans to bring non-perishable food items to support the Central Okanagan Food Bank.

Donation bins will be stationed at the entrances to the stadium.

Sun to aid food bank

The Okanagan Sun are encouraging fans to support the Central Okanagan Food Bank at the Apple Bowl Saturday night.

A donation bin will be set up at the entrance to the stadium, and food bank members will be on hand to answer any questions fans may have about the organization.

The Sun will also be inviting minor football players to come out and get an up-close-and-personal look at junior football.

Minor football players in uniform will be admitted free, as will parents who bring a donation to the food bank.

The Sun host the Westshore Rebels Saturday night in a showdown between two 2-0 teams.

Both clubs are coming off come-from-behind win. The Sun scored late to edge past the Valley Huskers 21-16, while the Rebels roared back in the fourth quarter for a 39-30 win over the VI Raiders.

Kickoff Saturday is 7 p.m.


Late TD powers Sun to win

Quarterback Alex Douglas punched in his second touchdown of the game from in close with less than two minutes left on the clock, as the Okanagan Sun defeated the hometown Valley Huskers 21-16 Saturday.

The touchdown capped off a late drive, aided by a pair of pass interference penalties and a Javen Kaechele 30 yard catch and run down the left sidelines with the Sun trailing by a single point.

Tyler Going sealed the victory, intercepting Reid Vankoughnett on the ensuing drive. The Sun ran out the clock from there.

Both teams flexed their stout defensive muscle in the opening 30 minutes, especially the Sun, who just one first down, that on the Huskers first possession. They went two-and-out the other six times they touched the ball in the opening half.

The Sun were only moderately more successful. Leading 2-0 after the Huskers conceded a safety late in the opening quarter, the Sun took possession on the Huskers 50 after a short punt.

They marched the ball down to the one-yard line, and after two unsuccessful tries and a Husker major penalty, Douglas finally snuck in from a yard out.

The extra point was blocked, giving the Sun an 8-0 lead at the half.

They had a couple of other chances to get on the board. However, a botched snap on a 26-yard field goal, and a penalty on third down inside the Huskers 30 snuffed out those drives.

The Sun defence started the second half the way they rolled through the first half, stuffing the Huskers on their first three possessions.

However, a bad snap on a Sun punt gave the Huskers the ball at the Sun 40. A roughing the passer penalty and a pair of long runs put the ball inside the Sun five.

Vankoughnett got the Huskers on the board with a scoring pass on third and goal. The two-point convert tied the game at 8-8.

On the ensuing possession, the Sun marched 80 yards in five plays. Malcolm Miller capped the drive with a 25-yard run over right tackle.

Chilliwack took their only lead on the game midway through the fourth, when Vankoughnett heaved a 50-yard bomb inside the Sun five.

He hit Brandon Poulin from two yards out on the next play. The Huskers again successfully went for two, taking a 16-15 lead.

Two possessions later, it was Douglas' turn for some late heroics.

Douglas went the distance for the Sun at quarterback after splitting duties with Ethan Newman in the opener.

According to league officials at the game, some Chilliwack fans had to be physically restrained from going after the officials as they left the field following the game.

In other games Saturday, Langley pasted the Kamloops Broncos 63-7, while the Westshore Rebels came from behind for a second straight week to defeat the VI Raiders 39-30.

The Sun, Rams and Rebels are all 2-0 to start the season while the Broncos, Raiders and Huskers all fell to 0-2.

The Sun return home next Saturday to host the Rebels, 7 p.m. at the Apple Bowl.

Sun open with ugly win

Jamie Boreham wasn't around for the traditional sideline water dousing after his first win as head coach of the Okanagan Sun.

The first-year head coach had left the park, after being ejected during the fourth quarter of Saturday's pedestrian 26-3 opening night victory over the visiting Kamloops Broncos.

Boreham was handed an automatic ejection after the officials flagged the Sun bench for a second objectionable conduct penalty, although he admits what he said led to the second flag.

"I will protect our players to my very best ability," said Boreham after he was able to return to the field following the final whistle.

"If that means having conversations that maybe are more difficult than others, that's what it is. But, we need to put it to our players, and we also need to make sure our players are playing within the rules."

What he saw before he was asked to leave was enough to know his team has a lot of work to do, and a lot of things to "clean up" before making the trek to the Fraser Valley next weekend.

"Ugly. It was both teams, it was the first game. It is what it is. People trying to figure it out at actual full speed or full speed plus a little bit more," he said.

"Mistakes all over the place on all three sides of the football. We've got a lot to clean up. We're happy with the result...a win's a win."

The Sun came out quick, scoring on their opening two possessions featuring a crisp running attack.

Malcolm Miller ran the ball three times for 41 yards on the opening drive, capped by a 25-yard strike from starter Alex Douglas to Kian Ishani.

Kelton Kouri took over on the second drive, toting the rock three times for 46 yards before Douglas found Jeven Kaechele from 12 yards out.

But, that was it until Lawrenzo Dissee barrelled in from five yards out on the final drive of the game.

The offence had trouble finding consistency for the rest of the game. And, when they did put together a promising drive, penalties, dropped passes or turnovers snuffed them out.

One drive early in the second quarter moved the Sun from their own 23 to the Broncos' one, but a bad exchange to Kouri resulted in a fumble, which the Broncos recovered.

True to his word, Boreham gave his highly touted quarterback recruits an opportunity to run the offence. Douglas started and played the first and third quarters, while southpaw Ethan Newman manned the second and fourth quarters.

Douglas finished the night 8-16 for 108 yards and two touchdowns while Newman was 8-11 for 151 yards. Neither threw an interception.

They ran the ball for 204 yards with Miller getting a little more work, carrying 10 times for 76 yards.

The defence held the Broncos to just a late, penalty-aided, fourth-quarter field goal. The drive, which started on the Kamloops five-yard line, netted only 11 yards in offence and 50 yards in penalties before Landon Munk nailed a 31-yard field goal.

Kamloops managed only 23 yards in total offence in the second half and 131 over the course of the game.

The one bright spot for the young Broncos was the play of rookie running back Kuda Murasiranwa. He carried the ball 15 times for 66 yards and showed the ability to evade tackles once he got into the open field.

The Sun has never lost to the Broncos, winning for the 24th straight time Saturday.

In other games on the opening day of the regular season, the Westshore Rebels came from behind to edge Chilliwack 21-20 while reigning Cullen Cup champion Langley dumped the VI Raiders 42-30.

The Sun hit the road in Chilliwack next weekend while the Broncos host the Langley Rams in their home opener next Saturday at 6.

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