It had been nine long years since the Okanagan Sun last won a B.C. Football Conference game in Nanaimo.
On Saturday night at Caledonia Park, the Sun put an emphatic end to the lengthy streak of frustration with a convincing 64-20 dismantling of the hometown Vancouver Island Raiders.
In sweeping the home-and-home set between the teams, the Sun outscored the Raiders by an eye-popping 102-20 count over the two games.
“It’s nice to see us play the same team two times in a row and play well both times, especially going into Caledonia Park and winning there for the first time since 2005,” said Sun head coach Shane Beatty. “As coaches, we were happy to see the kids perform the way they did.”
While Beatty was satisfied but not entirely pleased with the play of the defence, the Sun offense lived up to—and in many cases exceeded—expectations by racking up 694 total yards.
“We had a slow start, but after that our offence never wavered, it ran very smoothly and the guys executed extremely well,” he said.
Quarterback Cam Bedore and receiver Kyle Patchell led the 64-point onslaught with the best games of their respective junior careers. Bedore passed for 351 and four touchdowns, while Patchell scored the first four touchdowns of his Sun career, while also catching eight passes for 219 yards.
“When Cam has protection, he’s hard to stop,” Beatty said. “He has such a strong arm and a real quick release, all he needs is a little time.
“Kyle was tremendous, he’s been a resilient guy and has turned into a real leader for us. He’s a fine young man who has worked hard, waited his turn and is seeing the rewards of that.”
After yielding the opening touchdown to the Raiders just over three minutes into the opening quarter, it was all Sun the rest of the way.
Twenty-nine unanswered points before the end of the half included a pair of Bedore touchdown passes to Patchell (76 and 33 yards) and another to Lerone Robinson.
Ex-Raider Makail Maloff scored a pair of touchdowns along the ground, while Dillon Fortune added rushing majors on runs of four and 90 yards. Fortune finished with 126 yards on the ground.
Patchell scored his third major on a pass in the third quarter, then added his fourth after recovering a fumble and diving two yards into the end zone.
Defensively, the Sun collected four sacks—Ironstand, Gering, Delinte and Van Nistelrooy—and held the Raiders to just 47 yards rushing.
As pleased as Beatty was with the Sun’s overall performance, the head coach said improvement is still needed in the defensive secondary, which yielded 379 yards in passing and two majors.
“We had too many blown coverages, we had some guys who were trying to make plays that weren’t there,” said Beatty. “We’ll get to work on fixing that.”
With one punt return on Saturday, Sun DB Robbie Yochim set a new BCFC record for most punt returns in a career (132), surpassing Nick Downey of the Langley Rams.
The Sun (3-1) goes back on the road this Saturday as they travel to Kamloops to face the Broncos (3-0) in a 7 p.m. kick off at Hillside Stadium.