Shane Beatty admits it “almost killed” him not be on the sidelines coaching his Okanagan Sun football team on Sunday afternoon at the Apple Bowl.
Anyone who knows anything about the fiery and passionate head coach wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to hear Beatty utter such sentiments.
Still, if there was a game to miss among all games in 2014, it would be the Sun’s regular season finale against the Kamloops Broncos—one with absolutely no bearing on the final standings.
Beatty was forced to listen to the game from his condo via the Internet on Sunday after being suspended for one game by the B.C. Football Conference.
Beatty was disciplined for a breach of the conference’s coach conduct policy, based on a recent off-field conversation with another party.
The Sun head coach takes full responsibility for his actions.
“It’s my fault, I made a mistake and shouldn’t have said what I said,” said Beatty. “It was an unfortunate situation and it won’t happen again. It’s time to put it behind us and move on.”
For Beatty, moving on means getting his club prepared for the BCFC semifinal on Oct. 19 against the Vancouver Island Raiders.
“We’ll give the kids a few days off this week, then be ready to go early next week,” said Beatty. “It’s an exciting time of year.”
For the better part of two quarters on Sunday against Kamloops, the Sun looked like very much like a team without its inspirational leader, as evidenced by a 19-7 deficit early in the second half.
But after reloading at half time, it was all Sun there rest of the way as rookie quarterback Josiah Joseph helped direct the offense to 31 unanswered points, securing the club’s ninth win of the season.
Thomas Huber scored a pair of majors on passes—one each from Joseph and Cam Bedore, who saw first half duty after missing three games with a concussion.
Wes Geisler spearheaded Okanagan’s defensive thrust with two interceptions.
Beatty credits assistant coaches Tony Lindsay (offensive coordinator) and Nathan Mollard (defensive coordinator) for rallying the troops at half time.
“The coaches made good adjustments and the players got the job done,” he said. “I’m proud of the way coaches Lindsay and Mollard handled it. Something like that makes you closer as a team.”
And as much as Beatty pined to be on the sidelines with his players, the head coach said the experience may just make the Sun an even better team.
“Obviously you never want to let the kids down, you want to be there for them,” said Beatty. “If anything, it’s galvanized us even more. I got texts from kids after the game, so that was really nice. Some of them told me to never do that to them again,” he said with a laugh.
Defensive end Zak Ironstand said the Sun did a good job of rallying in Beatty’s absence but it’s not a habit the team would want to get into.
“Not having coach, it was a little scary at the start, you could definitely tell we were flat coming out,” said Ironstand. “But we made some adjustments at half time, the other coaches really stepped up, and it worked out.”
The next order of business for the Sun is preparing his club for the semifinal against the Raiders, Sunday, Oct. 19, 1 p.m. at the Apple Bowl.
The Sun took down in the Raiders in all three meetings this season by a combined points total of 121-27, though the final meeting in Nanaimo was the closest of the three with the Sun winning 19-7.