The Okanagan Sun gathers around the Cullen Cup following Sunday's win over Vancouver Island in the BCFC final.

Sun shines in BCFC final, advances to Canadian Bowl

Okanagan wins first conference championship since 2004 with drubbing of Vancouver Island Raiders

It will go down as one of the most dominant seasons in B.C. Football Conference history.

The Okanagan Sun captured the Cullen Cup title in 11 years Sunday at the Apple Bowl with a 54-0 drubbing of the visiting Vancouver Island Raiders.

The Sun, now 12-0 this season, will take on the Saskatoon Hilltops in two weeks time for the Canadian Bowl title.

“It means everything,” Sun head coach Shane Beatty said of the Sun’s first B.C. championship since 2004. “These kids worked tirelessly, I’m so proud of them. This is for the whole organization from top to bottom.”

The Sun, which went 10-0 during the regular season, then walloped the Kamloops Broncos  last weekend in the semifinal, avenged a loss in the B.C. final 12 months ago against the Langley Rams.

Quarterback Cam Bedore, who tossed a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another in Sunday’s win, said he and his teammates have been on a mission ever since that heartbreaking defeat on home turf.

“Nobody forgot about that one,” said Bedore, who was named the Cullen Cup’s top offensive player. “We worked our butts off, I don’t think we’ve taken more than three or four days off over the last 12 months so it really shows.”

Bedore threw TD passes to Kyle Patchell and Kasey Russell, while Kory Ngata paced the ground game with 93 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns.

The defense was dominant once again, holding the Raiders to just 118 yards in total offence.

The Sun intercepted three passes, including two by graduating defensive captain Brennan Van Nistelrooy.

The all-star defensive back said the Sun’s return to supremacy in the BCFC was a long time coming.

“It’s nice to see us come back to what everybody expects and what the history has shown for the program,” said Van Nistelrooy, the defensive player of the game. “We’ve always been a good team, but after we had a bad season a few years ago, coach Beatty came in turned the program around.

“Everybody became a great family, it’s unbelievable how close everybody is. It’s great to see, hopefully we can finish if off in a couple of weeks.”

Fellow grad Thomas Huber, who kicked three field goals and was named the Cullen Cup’s special teams player, shared Van Nisterooy’s sentiments.

“It’s great, we finally broke the threshold of winning the Cullen Cup,” said Huber. “It’s been years in the making, we’ve come close a lot of times, finally did it this year, feels great.”

The Sun will travel to Saskatoon to take on the Prairie Football Conference Hilltops Nov. 7 in the Canadian Bowl.

The Sun’s last national junior championship win was over the Hilltops in Kelowna in 2000.