- BC Games
Defense shines again as Sun shuts out Kamloops
If the Okanagan Sun made a statement over the last three weeks of the BCFC regular season, chances are that message had a lot to do with being playoff-ready—particularly on defense.
The Sun manufactured a franchise-record third consecutive shutout Sunday at the Apple Bowl, with a 51-0 drubbing of the Kamloops Broncos.
Under first-year head coach Shane Beatty, Okanagan outscored its opponents 142-0 over the last three games to finish the regular campaign at 8-2, a dramatic turnaround from last season's uninspiring 3-7 performance.
The Sun defense shone yet again Sunday, picking off four passes, recovering a fumble and forcing four turnovers on downs, while extending its shutout streak to 12 quarters.
"V.I. (Raiders) said they're the best defense in the league, so we wanted to come out an make a statement ourselves today," Beatty said. "I think we have 56 turnovers now, created over 10 games so that leaves a statement now. We'll see what we've got now, we've got Langley…we'll see what we're made of."
Expected to be a considerably stauncher test than either Kamloops or Chilliwack, the defending champion Rams will visit the Apple Bowl in next Sunday's BCFC semifinal.
Beatty has a healthy respect for the 7-3 Rams and their uber-talented offense and expects a classic confronatiation against the Okanagan defense.
"To me they're the best team in the league," said Beatty. "Offensively they're fast with a great quarterback and great running back. To me that's the best offence in the league and we're the best defence in the league, so it'll be a great matchup."
One individual bonus to Sunday's was win was a record-setting performance by Tommy Howes. The fifth-year receiver caught six passes, setting a new single season record for receptions with 58—one more than Matt Schuerwater caught in 2009.
And the record-setter came in dramatic style as Howes caught a 60-yard TD pass from Theo Deezar in the third quarter.
"I don't want to say it doesn't mean much to be now but we're really focused on the season ahead," Howes, 22, said of the record.
"I'm sure once I'm done playing and reflect on it then it's going to mean a whole lot more."
Howes' play on Sunday and his value to the Sun all season long drew the praise of his head coach.
"Phenomenal kid, a great ambassador of this program," Beatty said of Howes. "He's a great kid, a great receiver and he's got a bright future ahead of him."
The Sun and Rams will kick off the BCFC semifinal at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Apple Bowl.