A year ago, a B.C. Football Conference regular season title didn’t translate into playoff prosperity for the Okanagan Sun.
Head coach Shane Beatty has vastly different expectations of his team in 2015.
The Sun nailed down top spot in the conference for the second year in a row and home field advantage in the playoffs with a 39-17 victory over the Kamloops Broncos Sunday at the Apple Bowl.
But for Beatty, a regular season crown alone simply isn’t good enough.
“Yeah, it feels good,” Beatty said. “We’re 8-0 but we won the BCFC last year and it didn’t mean anything did it? I just told my kids that upstairs. We won it, be happy, but it doesn’t mean anything.
“We have to get better.”
Despite the score, Beatty wasn’t entirely happy with his team’s performance in their final home game of the regular season. The Sun led 29-0 at the half but by Beatty’s estimation let their foot off the gas over the final 30 minutes. Kamloops scored 10 points in the fourth quarter against the CJFL’s No. 1 defense.
“First half we played great both sides of the ball and came out sloppy in the second half,” Beatty said.
“We made great adjustments and played soft. I thought we did really well on special teams and I thought the offence called a great game but we just took our foot off the pedal.”
Lerone Robinson caught a pair of touchdown passes for the Sun, one each from Cam Bedore and Josiah Joseph, who again platooned at quarterback.
Dillon Fortune and Abdi-Nasir Abdi scored touchdowns along the ground, while Matt McConnell returned a blocked punt for the other major score.
The Sun will be in Victoria on Saturday to take on the Westshore Rebels, then will visit Kamloops to wrap up the regular season Oct. 3.
The Sun will host the BCFC semifinal on Sunday, Oct. 18.
And while his team may be tempted to look ahead, linebacker Cord Delinte said the Sun need to remain focused on short-term goals.
“It feels good to clinch,” said Delinte, “but we’ve gotta just stay with one week at a time, we can’t get overconfident with what we’ve done.”
Ex-Sun Kendall in hospital
Former Sun receiver Jesse Kendall is in serious condition at Kelowna General Hospital.
Kendall was recently in a motorcycle accident due to a brain aneurysm and is currently in the ICU at KGH making strong progress each day.
His friends and former teammates Ben Simmons, Landon King and Jeff Mock are doing what the can to help during this difficult time. They have started an online fundraising account to assist with costs for physio and medical treatments and equipment.
The Sun family are requesting fans to support Jesse’s road to recovery by making a small donation. Fans can donate HERE.
Kendall’s family are extremely grateful for any donations made.
Sun President Bill Long says, “The entire Okanagan Sun family wishes Jesse a full and speedy recovery. He was a consummate team player and the epitome of the type of person we hope to help cultivate in this organization. We know he will beat this challenge.”
Last season was Jesse’s last with the Sun and was an important part of the receiving core. He made 16 catches for 201 yards and scored a touchdown.