Before joining the Okanagan Sun this summer, Aldrich Berrios hadn’t played a down of football since his senior year in high school.
Judging by his performance on Saturday night at the Apple Bowl, the three-year absence did little to diminish the Vancouver native’s skills on the gridiron.
Berrios, who is also a standout with the UBC Okanagan men’s basketball team, tied a Sun team record with four interceptions against the Valley Huskers.
The 21-year-old defensive back’s effort equalled the mark set by the Sun’s Darby Ray back in 2003.
“I was out there having a lot of fun and I was just in the right place at the right time,” Berrios said of his four-interception night. “I had a ton of support out there, guys like Conor (Richard), Tye (Kitzman), Eli (Haynes) and Beck (Fullerton) all doing a great job, and the coaches had us well prepared. It was great to get the four picks, but more than anything it was really a collective effort.”
Berrios was a star football player at Notre Dame Secondary where he played for Sun assistant head coach Jamie Boreham.
Boreham was also Berrios’ coach on the Jugglers’ basketball teams from Grade 8 through Grade 12.
Sun head coach Ben Macauley said Berrios has made an impressive transition back on to the football field.
“Aldrich has excellent ball skills and is no stranger to the game of football,” said Macauley. “He played under Jamie (at Notre Dame Secondary) and was a stand out there. He has been away from the game for a few years but has started finding his rhythm.
“Having four interceptions takes skill and luck,” added Macauley. “But you can’t be lucky if you’re not in the right spot.”
With a yearning to get back on the football field, Berrios ran the idea of playing with the Sun past the head coach of the UBCO men’s basketball team.
Berrios was happy to hear Pete Guarasci’s response.
“When I mentioned it to Pete, he loved the idea and I have to thank him for that,” said Berrios. “I really missed the sport, so with my eligibilty running out, I wanted to come back and play another year.
“I developed a passion for both basketball and football and wanted to play both as much as I could. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity with the Sun.”
Heading into his fourth season of Canada West basketball with the Heat, Berrios is on pace to become the program’s all-time leading scorer.
And as one of UBCO’s more experienced players, he’ll also be looked to for leadership in 2017-18 by the coaching staff and his younger teammates.
With the new basketball campaign tipping off in late October, there is a chance the Heat’s and Sun’s seasons will overlap.
Berrios and his coaches will then have a decision to make.
“Depending on how well we do, that could take us into November,” said Berrios. “I don’t know what will happen, but I have to start thinking about that soon and see what we’re going to do. Until then, I’m just going to try enjoy playing both sports as much as I can.”
Berrios and the Sun (4-0) return to action this Saturday when they travel to Nanaimo to take on the Vancouver Island Raiders.
Sun 71 Huskers 7
Highlighted by four interceptions from Aldrich Berrios, the Sun remained undefeated so far in the 2017 B.C. Football Conference season with a blowout win over the winless Valley Huskers Saturday at the Apple Bowl.
Starting his third straight game at quarterback, Nick Wenman threw a career-high four touchdown passes—one each to Nate Anderson, Robbie Rodrigues, Spencer Schmidt and Liam Crane.
Tye Kitzman scored on a 101-yard interception return, his fourth pick in as many games this season.
Joseph Okenlola scored two majors along the ground, while Kyler Mosley and Carter Gordon each had a rushing touchdown for the Sun.