Chance for Sun to salvage season

Despite 3-7 record and dismissal of head coach, B.C. Football Conference club looks for strong effort in playoffs against Vancouver Island

Okanagan Sun veteran Ben White (right) hopes his BCFC career will extend beyond this weekend's semifinal playoff game in Nanaimo against Tremaine Apperley and the Vancouver Island Raiders.

For all that’s gone awry this season, time has yet to officially expire on the Okanagan Sun.

Win or lose in the B.C. Football Conference semifinal this weekend in Nanaimo, Sun GM Jay Christensen said the club still has an opportunity to write a positive conclusion to an otherwise bleak and disappointing campaign.

“I just want to see them go out there have fun, play hard, and play with some enthusiasm and energy,” said Christensen. “The season itself, no one was happy about it, the record was what it was.

“But that’s the beauty of playoffs. You really do get to start from scratch. Football is supposed to be fun and we didn’t see a lot of that the last few games. Of course we want to win, but as much as anything I want to see the guys play well.”

Team president Paul Carson will lead the Sun into battle Saturday against the Vancouver Island Raiders, their longtime rivals and six-time BCFC champs.

Carson has taken over the coaching duties on an interim basis after the club dismissed first-year head coach Gavin Lake on Monday.

Under Lake, the Sun went 3-7, including 1-4 at home.

Based on their regular season, it’s no surprise the Sun are considered heavy underdogs this weekend against the Raiders.

Still, perhaps Okanagan’s two best games came at Caledonia Park—a 30-29 loss on Aug. 18 and a 32-30 defeat on Sept. 29. Only missed field goals on each occasion prevented Okanagan from winning both games

Fifth-year receiver Ben White fully expects his Sun teammates to put up another formidable fight on Saturday.

“We’ve basically put everything in the past, what’s happened is forgotten and we’re all just focusing on one game right now,” said White, 22, who caught 17 passes for 323 yards and four touchdowns this season. “We definitely feel like we can play with them and we need to have that mindset. We keep reminding everyone not to think of the year, but the fact we have to be confident and go in there and play hard.”

White, one of seven Sun players who will be moving on at season’s end said, despite taking their lumps this season, a sense of pride remains in the club’s locker room.

“Either way, we want to show we’re a competitive team, we’re a top team and we’re not just going to roll over,” White added. “We’ve had a good week at practice and we’re going to try and enjoy this time as much as we can.”

Along with White, Bobby Davis, Curtis DeMelo, Sean Mason, Blake Butler, Steven Shott and Sheldon MacDonald will all graduate from the Sun program and, to a man, all would like to extend their junior careers by another few weeks.

From the Raiders’ perspective, head coach Matt Blokker expects the Sun to be emotionally-charged and ready to play football.

“I think their organization made a decision to have something for the team to rally around,” Blokker told the Nanaimo News Bulletin. “They’re going to be full of emotion and they’re going to be excited and feel it’s a new year, it’s a whole new thing and the guy that did all the wrong was their head coach and now he’s gone.”

The Raiders and Sun will kick off the BCFC semi-final Saturday at 1 p.m. at Caledonia Park.

Sun all-stars

Despite a less than stellar season as a team, four Sun players have been recognized for their outstanding individual play in 2012.

Defensive lineman Steven Doege, defensive backs Blake Butler and Robbie Yochim, and receiver Tommy Howes have been named to the B.C. Football Conference all-star team.

For Doege, the Rutland grad was named an all-star for the third consecutive year. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Doege had a BCFC-leading 12 sacks, along with 34 tackles, 10 assists, two fumble recoveries and 122 defensive points.

Butler, an OKM grad his fourth season,  amassed 11 tackles, 10 assists, three knockdowns, five interceptions and 55 points.

Yochim, the third-year DB out of Rutland compiled 30 tackles, eight assists, three knockdowns, one blocked kick and one fumble recovery.

Howes, the four-year veteran from Winnipeg, caught 34 passes for 539 yards and four touchdowns.


Just Posted

Work continuing on new Kelowna visitor centre

Crews working through winter on downtown lakeshore site to have building ready for this summer

Pizza delivery car stolen during Kelowna delivery

While delivering a late night pizza, man has car stolen, then runs to recover it

Kelowna’s Serwa named to Olympic team

Kelsey Serwa is one of eight Canadian ski cross athletes headed to PyeongChang

Vernon Search & Rescue find lost snowmobiler

Male, 19, went missing in Hunter’s Range area near Enderby

Kelowna attraction set to re-open after 2017 floods

Scandia’s popular Jungle Golf, downstairs, has been closed since being damaged in Kelowna floods

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Angels at The Mule

Penticton nightclub introduces angel shots for safety

Dryer explosion at Teck Elkview Operations

Locals report hearing loud bang

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Most Read