Kyler Mosley and the Okanagan Sun continue to sit atop the B.C. Football Conference after a 31-31 tie Sunday with the Vancouver Island Raiders. -Image: Warren Henderson

Winning streak halted, Sun still on top

Okanagan gets set for winless Chilliwack after settling for a tie with the VI Raiders.

In Ben Macauley’s estimation, it was one of the Okanagan Sun’s poorest efforts of the 2017 B.C. Football Conference season.

On the upside, a 31-31 tie Sunday at the Apple Bowl against the visiting Vancouver Island Raiders didn’t cost his club sole possession of top spot.

With the winless Valley Huskers up next, the Sun (5-0-1) can be fully expected to hold on to their one-point edge over the second-place Westshore Rebels (5-1-0).

Standings aside, Macauley said in addition to correcting the mistakes made against the Raiders, the Sun simply needs to focus on the next task ahead.

“We can only control what we can control, we want to be in a position where we’re playing at home in the playoffs, but that’s thinking too far ahead,” said Macauley, in his second season as head coach.

“We’ve just got to focus on coming out against Chilliwack and clearing up the communication issues.”

Those communication issues cropped up at inopportune times during Sunday’s stalemate, including on the Raiders’ game-tying drive in the final minute of the fourth quarter.

VI converted on a third down play from the one yard-line for a touchdown, then added a two-point conversion to deprive the Sun of its sixth straight win to start the season.

“It’s not quite good enough for where we need to be down the stretch,” said Macauley. “We have to be better than we were (against the Raiders).”

The tie did nothing to tarnish the performance of Sun receiver Shamar Donelson, who scored all four Sun touchdowns—all on passes from quarterback Nick Wenman—in his first game of the 2017 season.

For his efforts, the fourth-year pass catcher from Regina was named the BCFC’s offensive player of the week.

“Shamar’s a great player,” Macauley said of Donelson who had been sidelined since training camp with an injury. “It’s his time, he’s a leader on the team in a number of ways. It’s nice to see him show up on the stat sheet that way and have a good day.”

“It felt good to be out there for the first time this year and to actually start and give a contribution to the team,” said Donelson who finished the day with 178 yards on five receptions.

Receiver Rashaun Simonese, who rejoined the Sun last week, will be ready to go this weekend against the Huskers.

A cut of the Cincinnati Bengals out of the NFL team’s training camp in 2016, the former Calgary Dino played in three regular season games with the Sun last season, catching 12 passes for 265 yards and a touchdown.

Due to his testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug last year with the Bengals, the CFL deferred Simonise’s draft year from 2017 to 2018.

The Sun and Huskers (0-6) will meet Saturday in Chilliwack. Kick off is 1 p.m.

whenderson@kelownacapnews.com

 

Four touchdown catches earned Sun receiver Shamar Donelson the BCFC’s offensive player of the week honours. -Image: Warren Henderson