Eli Haynes and the Okanagan Sun will look to chase down Maximilian Joseph and the hometown Kamloops Broncos Saturday in BCFC action. -Image: Douglas Farrow/Contributor

Eli Haynes and the Okanagan Sun will look to chase down Maximilian Joseph and the hometown Kamloops Broncos Saturday in BCFC action. -Image: Douglas Farrow/Contributor

Sun keeps foot on pedal for stretch run

With three games remaining, Sun may be headed for season-ending, first-place showdown with Rebels

Ben Macauley and his Okanagan Sun have so far resisted the temptation to look ahead to the final game of the regular season in Victoria against the Westshore Rebels.

Still, if the pecking order in the BCFC standings doesn’t change before Saturday, Oct. 7, then that game will ultimately decide first place in the conference.

With three weeks remaining, the Sun (6-0-1) leads the defending champion Rebels (6-1-0) by a single point for top spot.

“I think that’s good for us,” Macauley said of a potential season-ending match-up for first against Westshore. “That means the playoffs will just start a week early for our guys. We want to be competitive heading into the post season and having something on the line will certainly be motivation for us.

“Right now, it’s not about winning first place, it’s about doing our jobs and getting better each week,” he added. “Taking a loss at this point of the season would be a step backwards. Whatever situation we end up in, we’ll prepare to deal with it.”

But it’s first things for first for the Sun who have three games remaining, including this Saturday in Kamloops against the Broncos (1-6). Okanagan will also have to take down the Langley Rams (4-3-0) on Oct. 1 at home for the season finale to still carry meaning.

In addition to fine-tuning over the final stretch of the regular season, the Sun will be in evaluation mode as Macauley and his staff look to settle on their 40-man postseason roster.

“We have a few guys left to give an opportunity to show us what they can do, see how they respond as we look to complete our roster for the playoffs,” Macauley said of about five to 10 players who are on the bubble for the postseason. “For the guys who don’t make it, that’s the tough reality, a tough pill for them.

“We’ve been preaching that every player has a role,” he added. “We need to show appreciation for those guys who are going to sit out, because they’re just as important to the team.”

The Sun gave plenty of reps to their second and third stringers on Saturday in Chillwack in 42-3 victory over the winless Valley Huskers.

Keith Zyla returned to the starter’s role at quarterback and fired four touchdown passes, including two to Rashaun Simonise. A former Calgary Dino and cut of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, the 6-foot-5 Simonese caught six passes for 82 yards in his season debut with the Sun.

He played in three games last year with the Sun, catching 12 passes for 265 yards and a T.D.

“He had a fantastic game,” Macauley said of Simonise. “He’s a big target where you don’t have to be quite as accurate, he’s tough to guard. He came in with a great attitude and has certainly added a big weapon to our offense.”

The Sun return home Sunday, Oct. 1 against the Langley Rams. Kick off at the Apple Bowl is 1 p.m.

Just Posted

Lightning in Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms overnight

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
UPDATE: West Kelowna fire crews rescue injured mountain biker

The injury took place at the top of Smith Creek Road

Kelowna flags were flown at half-mast after the discovery of a residential school burial site in Kamloops. (File photo)
Central Okanagan school board chair reflects on recent tragedies

Moyra Baxter offers condolenses to residential school victims, slain Muslim family

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Bentley resting on a bench at Kal Park in Vernon not knowing there is a baby rattlesnake curled up below. Bentley jumped down and was bit by the snake. (Facebook)
Dog bit by baby rattler at popular Vernon park

The rattlesnake was hidden underneath a park bench when it struck out

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read