For the first half of Sunday’s game at the Apple Bowl, the Okanagan Sun looked very much like a team without a head coach.
But even in the absence of the suspended Shane Beatty, the Sun demonstrated why they are the team to beat in the B.C. Football Conference with a dominant second half, en route to a convincing 38-19 victory over the Kamloops Broncos.
With the victory, the Sun finish the regular season at 9-1, their best record and first BCFC title since the 2010 season.
Beatty, in his second season as bench boss, was absent from the sidelines after being suspended by the league this week for a breach of the coach conduct policy—an off-field conversation between Beatty and another party was deemed inappropriate, according to Sun GM Jay Christensen.
“We respect the BCFC’s decision,” said Christensen. “It was a situation where it was a conversation between two people that never should have gone any farther. Unfortunately one of the parties chose to escalate it to the league level and the league had no choice, at that point.”
In a game that meant nothing in the standings and without the fiery Beatty leading the charge, the Sun couldn’t untracked and trailed 19-7 early in the third quarter.
But from there on, it was all Sun who scored 31 unanswered points on the way to their eighth consecutive win.
Christensen said the club once again displayed both its character and talent by overcoming adversity and maintaining the momentum heading to the post-season.
“This was a nothing game in the standings, but ultimately this was an important game for us to keep the momentum going, going into the playoffs,” said Christensen. “You don’t want to end it on a poor performance, so I think it was a great job by the guys to self-regulate, and come out in the second half and say, you know, we didn’t play the best first half, we were out of sorts because of all this. The second half was much better.”
Veteran quarterback Cam Bedore returned to the lineup after missing three games with a concussion and played the first half. Rookie Josiah Joseph took over in the second half and helped pace the offence to four major scores and a field goal.
“We knew we were going to give Cam some time once he got cleared and we wanted for him to get the rust off,” said Sun offensive coordinator Tony Lindsay. “We knew Josiah would manage the ball and manage the clock and do what he could. We get into a little trouble now and again, but we know both those guys are solid.”
Thomas Huber caught a pair of touchdown passes for the Sun, one each from Bedore and Joseph.
On defense, Wes Geisler had two interceptions for the Sun.
The Sun will have a week off before hosting the BCFC semifinal, Sunday, Oct. 19 against the Vancouver Island Raiders.