After two weeks of training camp, the Okanagan Sun are set to open the BCFC season this weekend at home. -Image: Warren Henderson/Capital News

Sun battles defending champs in BCFC opener

The Westshore Rebels will visit the Apple Bowl to kick off the 2017 junior football season

For 40-plus returning members of the Okanagan Sun, the last memory of the 2016 B.C. Football Conference season wasn’t a particularly pleasant one.

On Saturday night, the Sun look to begin the 2017 campaign with a much different feel when they play host to the rival and defending champion Westshore Rebels.

It was the Rebels who halted Okanagan’s Canadian Bowl hopes last October with a victory over them in the Cullen Cup final in Victoria.

While a little payback may be in the back of a few minds of Sun players, head coach Ben Macauley says that’s in the past.

“There might be some carry over from that game, we feel like they didn’t necessarily beat us as much we allowed that to happen,” said Macauley. “But that’s in the past. It’s a big rivalry and the guys are excited to play them and get the season under way.

“We don’t want to place too much importance on this game, it’s our first and we’re not going to base our whole season on it,” Macauley added. “Of course we want to come out and play well, but it’s about getting better and improving with each week.”

With a full season now under his belt, plenty of experience on the coaching staff, a solid returning corps, and a strong recruiting class, Macauley says the Sun is well ahead of where it was 12 months ago, describing the difference as “night and day.”

Fifth-year linebacker Eli Haynes is on board with his head coach.

“Things have been better this season from the get-go,” said Haynes, one of the key leaders on the Sun defense this season. “The (coaches) did a great job of recruiting, the guys they brought in are all really good guys and have all fit in well.

“We had a good training camp, we’ve prepared well, so we’re excited to get at it.”

As for the Rebels, the defending champs have undergone a number of changes on both sides of the ball since last season, including the loss of all-star running back, Jamal Lyles.

Regardless, Macauley expects the Rebels to bring a solid game plan into the Apple Bowl on Saturday night.

“There a lot of new faces there we don’t know a lot about, it’s hard to know what to expect, but we do expect them to be competitive,” Macauley said. “We’re playing against the defending champs, so it’ll be a good gauge for us to see where we stand.”

Kick off at the Apple Bowl between the Sun and Westshore is 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Sun in top 50

Five members of the Sun have cracked the Canadian Junior Football League’s annual rankings of the top 50 players in the country.

The players selected and their overall ranking:

• 27—Conor Richard, linebacker

• 35—Beck Fullerton, defensive back

• 39—Eli Haynes, linebacker

• 43—Cory McCoy, defensive line

• 47—Brendan Hansen, running back

Just Posted

Truck drives through cattle guard in West Kelowna

The accident was reported last night at around 12 a.m.

The City of Kelowna needs your help to design its cultural plan

Residents are invited to take part in an online survey until Aug. 31

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Councillors don’t like it but send tower proposal to public hearing anyway

Despite speaking out against Cedar Avenue project councillors say minds are still open

Ballet Kelowna to perform in China

For the first time Ballet Kelowna has been invited to perform in Beijing

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Amazon’s hopes its Prime Day doesn’t go to the dogs

Shoppers clicking on many Prime Day links after the 3 p.m. ET launch in the U.S. got images of dogs

Alberta man drowns in Mara Lake near Sicamous

The 26-year-old man’s body was retrieved on July 16

Trudeau blasts Putin, Russia following Finland summit but stays mum on Trump

Strong words come one day after a controversial summit between Putin and Trump in Finland

Okanagan mixed martial arts athlete ready for battle

Xcessive Force Fighting Championship comes to the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre

Temperature records break across southern B.C. as heat continues

Whistler broke a 70-year-old record high of 32.2 C with a temperature of 32.9 C

A’s sweep Pirates, host Twins to cap regular season

With just four games remaining in the regular season, the Okanagan Athletics’… Continue reading

Small house fire extinguished by Okanagan homeowner

Homeowner knocked down flames with hose before crews were on scene Tuesday morning

Come dance between the lakes

Powwow Between the Lakes returns to Penticton Indian Band in August

Most Read