It took until the season’s final game—in windy and rainy conditions—for the West Kelowna Sun Devils to finally meet their match.
In the B.C. junior bantam football championship game Sunday in Langley, the Sun Devils came up just short of the top prize, losing 26-20 to the Coquitlam Vikings.
It’s the furthest a West Kelowna-based team has ever advanced at the minor level.
The Sun Devils jumped on top early as Nate Humes scored on a 40-yard run to make it 6-0.
Minutes later, Ty Truong took a faked punt 50 yards downfield, then later scored a touchdown from 10 yards out. A two-point conversion by Chris Smith made it 14-0.
The Vikings responded with a major and convert of their own to make it 14-8 at the half.
Coquitlam came out strong in the second half, scoring back-to-back touchdowns and adding a pair of punt singles to take a 26-14 lead.
The Sun Devils bounced back as Humes caught a Salem Clark pass for a TD to make it a six-point game. West Kelowna had two more possessions in the fourth quarter, but were unable to get to the end zone.
Nick Kopp was named the Sun Devils game MVP and was a standout on defense with 12 tackles.
Devils coach Chris Smith praised his team for their season and their effort in the final.
“This is the furthest any West Kelowna team has ever made it in history, and to put up that effort with such heart against a very strong powerhouse like Coquitlam that featured a much bigger and stronger team was amazing,” said Smith. “I think if we played that team six times, we would win three and they would win three…it was very evenly matched game.”
The Sun Devils scored the most points of any team against Coquitlam this season, as the Vikings allowed just three total points in the previous three playoff games.
“Our boys had a special season, one they will never forget,” Smith added.