Sun receiver Shamar Donelson caught four touchdowns passes in Sunday’s 31-31 tie with the VI Raiders. -Image: Warren Henderson

Sun play to deadlock with Raiders

Shamar Donelson catches four touchdown passes in his first game of the season

There was just one thing missing in an otherwise stellar season debut for Shamar Donleson—a win for his Okanagan Sun.

Donelson, playing his first game of the BCFC season, caught four touchdown passes Sunday at the Apple Bowl as the Sun settled for a 31-31 tie with the Vancouver Island Raiders.

The Sun (5-0-1) remains in top spot in the conference, one point up on Westshore (5-1) and three ahead of the Raiders (3-21-1).

Donelson’s fourth touchdown of the game—all four from Sun QB Nick Wenman—in the fourth quarter put the Sun ahead 28-23, before Isaac Wenger’s field goal widened the lead to eight points.

But the Raiders rallied in the final minute of the game as Jake Laberge connected with Rhett Williams on a touchdown pass, followed by a two-point conversion by North Rainey to tie the score and earn the point for the Raiders.

It was a much different result than two weeks ago when the Sun blew out the Raiders 45-11 in Nanaimo and served as bit of a reminder for Ben Macauley’s club.

“It was a good reality check for the guys,” said Macauley, the Sun’s head coach. “We still felt like we could have made some different adjustments at half time that didn’t pan out the way we hoped they would. We unfortunately handed them that last drive and allowed them back into the game.

“We gave it to them as much as they earned it,” he added. “Full credit to them, they pushed hard and gave us all we could handle. They played their best game of the year and we played one of our worst.”

Donelson, who had been sidelined since training camp with a hamstring injury, credited his teammates for a welcoming and productive return to the lineup.

“It was just a whole team effort, I couldn’t have done it without all 12 guys on the field and everybody in the locker room,” said Donelson. “It felt good to be out there on the field for the first time, to start and actually give a contribution to the team.”

Still, Donelson would have preferred a better result for the Sun.

“We gotta get right back to it,” he said, “this is a bit like a loss for us, we wanted the W for sure.”

The Sun returns to action this Saturday when they visit the Valley Huskers in Chilliwack.