Shane Beatty called Sunday’s B.C. Football Conference semifinal win over Kamloops the “best effort, ever,” in his three seasons with the Okanagan Sun.
With a similar performance this weekend at the Apple Bowl, the Sun could well be celebrating the club’s first Cullen Cup title in 11 years.
The Sun will play host to the rival Vancouver Island Raiders this Sunday in the BCFC championship, with the winner earning a berth next month in the 2015 Canadian Bowl.
After a 10-0 regular season, followed by a 75-7 drubbing of the Broncos in the playoff opener, Beatty said his club has saved its best football for the most crucial time of year.
“Last year, we said let’s not peak too early, let’s keep getting better and better each week,” said Beatty. “These kids buy in, they do everything we ask. These kids are special.
“It’s nice to be back (in the final),” Beatty added. “Let’s do this.”
The Sun took down the Raiders in both regular season meeting, 27-3 in Nanaimo on Aug. 8 and 28-7 at the Apple Bowl on Sept. 13, as the Sun sacked VI quarterbacks 13 times.
Still, Beatty isn’t about to take the Raiders—coached by former CFLer Jerome Erdman—lightly.
“(The Raiders are) well-coached kids, it’s going to be a great game,” said Beatty.
“They’re good on defense and have some talent on offence, we have respect their quarterback. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
After giving up 38 points to the Broncos two weeks previous in the final game of the regular season, the Sun defense put in a vastly superior effort on Sunday
The only Kamloops score came on a kickoff return in the fourth quarter.
“They were embarrassed in Kamloops,” Beatty said of the Sun defence,” so we went back to the roots, made it easy for the kids and let them play fast.”
Cord Delinte had two of the Sun’s three interceptions, including an 86-yarder for a major.
The Sun offense was also at its best against the Broncos, with Cam Bedore passing for 328 yards and four touchdowns.
Kyle Kawamoto and Kyle Patchell had three TD passes apiece while combining for 18 catches and 374 yards.
“We just clicked,” Beatty said of his offense which racked up 605 total yards. “Cam (Bedore) did a great job.”
In particular, it was an 87-yard strike from Bedore to Kawamoto that had fans, coaches and players alike talking.
“What a beautiful throw,” Beatty said. “(Sun GM) Jay Christensen said he’d never seen a deep ball like that. It was unbelievable. It was 65 yards in the air. It was awesome.”
Kick off Sunday at the Apple Bowl between the Sun and Raiders is 1 p.m.
The winner will travel to the home of the Prairie Football Conference champ the weekend of Nov. 8 and 9 for the Canadian Bowl.
Sun players honoured…
Two members of the Sun have earned BCFC player of the week awards.
Receiver Kyle Kawamoto was named the top offensive player.
The 22-year-old Kawamoto had seven catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns, as the Sun defeated the Kamloops 75-7 last Sunday in the BCFC semifinal.
Thomas Huber won the special teams player award for the fourth time this season. He was 2-for-2 in field goals, a perfect 10-for-10 in converts and kicked off 11 times averaging 49.6 yards.