A 65-10 bludgeoning of one the B.C. Football Conference’s weaker opponents in their season opener likely didn’t come as a colossal surprise to the Okanagan Sun.
Still, starting off the new campaign with a lopsided victory—regardless of the foe—was a welcome result for a young, revamped Sun squad.
After losing last year’s opener, then proceeding to go 3-7 overall, veteran receiver Tommy Howes believes Saturday night’s drubbing of the Chilliwack Huskers will set the tone for a much more positive and productive 2013.
“I think it’s huge for us going forward,” said Howes, who caught three passes for 43 yards and two touchdowns. “Coach (Shane) Beatty has brought a whole new level of energy and accountability to our team and the guys are responding to it. It’s just one game, but it’s a good start and good to see our young guys getting some experience.”
One glitch on the game summary for new head coach Shane Beatty was a slow start by the Sun as the Huskers’ offence held the ball for most of the first quarter before scoring for a 7-0 lead.
But it was all Sun after that, who replied with 30 unanswered points in the second quarter and scored touchdowns in almost every conceivable fashion—five via the pass, two along the ground, one on a blocked punt and one on an interception.
In the big picture, Beatty was satisfied with the outcome.
“Overall, I think we’ve still got a ways to go,” said Beatty. “We came out of the gate slow, but the kids played hard. I thought the offense passed the ball well, and played a pretty good game for the most part. We scored in a multitude of ways, so that was good to see as well.”
The jury remains out on the subject of the Sun’s No. 1 quarterback, as both Theo Deezar and Cam Bedore were productive while at the controls Saturday at the Apple Bowl.
Deezar connected on 11 of 15 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns, while Bedore completed five of nine for 80 yards and two major scores.
The battle will continue into this Saturday night’s matchup against the Vancouver Island Raiders.
“Obviously Theo did well with his three touchdown passes, but at the same time Cam got the job done when he was in there,” Beatty said. “I would think we’re still going to keep looking at both guys.”
“I was happy with the way I played and the way the team played,” said Deezar, who played last season at the University of Manitoba. “Whoever’s in for us at quarterback, we have such a good receiving corps, just easy targets all over the field. I really like the potential of our team.”
Jesse Kendall and Howes each grabbed a pair of TD passes, with Thomas Huber adding another.
Alex Bradley and Dillon Fortune scored rushing majors, with Bradley piling up 104 yards on 16 carries.
“Alex looked really good out there,” Beatty said of Bradley’s performance.
Landon King, with a 30-yard return of a blocked punt, and Robbie Yochim, with a 10-yard interception return, scored the Sun’s other majors.
The win came with a cost, however, as veteran cornerback Jamie Turek went down with a knee injury on the game’s opening drive and is likely to miss most of the season with a damaged ACL.
As for this weekend’s much anticipated matchup with VI, the Sun are hoping to turn the tables on the Raiders who won all four meetings between the clubs last season.
“Every game we play is a test and an opportunity and that’s what it’s going to be against the Raiders,” Tommy Howes added. “They’re a good football team, we’re excited to play them and see what we can do.”
Kick off against the Raiders Saturday night at the Apple Bowl is 7 p.m.
In other opening week action, the Raiders beat Westshore 35-10, while the defending champion Langley Rams erased Kamloops 51-0.