HIGHLY-SOUGHT PIVOT BRINGS TALENTS, EXPERIENCE TO SUN

Warren Henderson/Capital News Former Mount Allison Mounties quarterback Jakob Loucks is the most highly-touted recruit for the Okanagan Sun.

Jakob Loucks, a two-year university starter at Mount Allison, was conspicuous at Sun spring camp

WARREN HENDERSON

LOCAL SPORTS

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After walking off the field at the end of the 2017 season, quarterback Jakob Loucks was unsure whether he’d ever play football again.

Finding a balance between life, education and sports was presenting its share of challenges for the 20-year-old product of Cornwall, Ont.

That all changed this spring when the Okanagan Sun invited the highly-touted Loucks to pay a visit to Kelowna and see what the B.C. Football Conference club had to offer.

“I didn’t think I was going to play again until I took a visit out here and fell in love with the place, the team, the coaches, the scenery,” said Loucks. “So I was like, yeah, I think I’ll give this one more shot.”

All eyes were on Loucks over the weekend in Kelowna, the most auspicious of the 105 players to take to the field at the Sun’s 2018 spring camp.

The U Sports rookie of the year in 2016, the 5-foot-10, 195-pound pivot started the last two seasons for the Mount Allison University Mounties in Sackville, NB.

With a solid resumé and two years of university ball under his belt, the Sun, not surprisingly, have high expectations of Loucks.

“We’re really impressed with Jakob,” said Sun head coach Ben Macauley. “It’s a tough task, coming in with a lot of pressure on you. He’s one of the top recruits in Canada and he’ll be expected to perform that way…we have high expectations for him and so far he’s handling that very well.

“Overall, he’s been very impressive physically and mentally.”

 

As for those expectations and living up to the hype, Loucks plans to simply focus his efforts on playing the game.

“I kind of don’t let that stuff affect me, I just put my helmet on and go play football,” said Loucks, who passed for 2,859 yards and 16 touchdowns over two seasons at Mount Allison. “People can expect what they want, but I’m just going to get on the field and give everything I have.”

Other quarterbacks taking reps at Sun camp included Gabe Oliveras, the backup last season at UBC, and Matthew Mahler, who returns from last year’s club.

Nick Wenman, who attended his third spring camp with the Sun, took over as the club’s starter part way through last season. However, Wenman is seriously considering transferring to the university level this fall with Mount Allison.

Thanks to an aggressive and thorough off-season of recruiting by the Sun, Macauley said the coaching staff had an ample crop of intriguing prospects to watch over the course of the three-day camp.

Unlike past years, when the Sun has been hard-pressed to find enough talent to line up in the trenches, Macauley said the offensive line could well be the club’s strength in 2018.

Calgary’s Daniel Townsend and Brendan Barnes, both with university experience, along with Danil Balan, from Montreal, are among those expected to bolster the O-line, complimenting the talents of returnees such as Marshall Klein and Liam Hamlyn.

“At this time of the year, to have some strength in numbers along the offensive line is a huge feather in our cap,” said Macauley. “We’re going to work hard to maintain that.”

The Sun plans to invite 85 players back for the club’s main training camp beginning July 17.

Okanagan kicks off the 2018 B.C. Football Conference season Aug. 5 in Kamloops.

All-Star Linebacker Eli Haynes Honoured by CJFL

Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography

Class Of 2017: Eli Haynes

An All-Star linebacker for the Okanagan Sun

By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

Eli Haynes is a homegrown player for the Okanagan Sun who spent the past five seasons chasing down tackles at the Apple Bowl.

In his final CJFL season in 2017, he led the BC Conference with 38 tackles and 114 total defensive points.  Along with his tackle total, he also tallied four knockdowns, forced two fumbles and recovered a pair as well.  Over on Special Teams, he collected seven tackles and assisted on two others.  He was named a BC Conference Defensive All-Star.

He is part of the CJFL’s Class of 2017:  WATCH HIS HIGHLIGHT VIDEO HERE

Why play for the Sun in the first place? – “I watched the Sun play growing up and they were my home team. I was just very fortunate to be able to move on to play for such a great junior organization in my hometown.”

Why did you stay with the Sun for all five years? – “I already had the opportunity to pursue a degree at UBC Okanagan while continuing to play for the Sun. The team scholarship fund helped me out with tuition, so I didn’t need to pursue university football for school.”

Now that you’ve graduated from the CJFL, what’s the biggest lesson you take away? – “Never be late”

Each player goes through a lot during his CJFL career, how did you grow as a person? – “I think the most growth happened in my first year out of high school. Being an 18-year-old rookie practising against the vets every day was a challenge that made me better. Also, getting to meet so many different guys from all walks of life was really eye-opening for me having grown up in Kelowna my whole life.”

What’s your favourite memory of playing with the Sun? – “Winning the Cullen Cup in 2015”

Knowing what you know now, would you change anything about your five seasons in the CJFL? -“Nothing. I’m happy with where I’m at now, so I have no regrets.”

What will you miss most? – “Playing in front of the home crowd at the Apple Bowl.”

What is next for Eli Haynes? – “I’m going to supplement my degree from UBCO by playing more football and studying at McMaster University next year. There’s no real master plan.”

Okanagan Sun linebacker Eli Haynes is part of the CJFL Class of 2017.

Sun land high profile QB for 2018 forward

“I’m extremely excited to add Jakob Loucks to the family for 2018 and beyond. He is one of the top young players that Canada has to off. He embodies what we expect of our players: smart, tough, and high character. He is ready to come in and compete. Jakob comes to us from Mount Allison University where he was a two year starter and 2016 Usport Rookie of the Year.” – Head Coach Ben Macauley

Click the link below to check out some of Jakob’s finest work!

Jakob Louks Highlight Video

 

Accommodations Needed!

Meet Matt, he is an 18-year-old pure bread quarterback. This guy comes to use from Canmore Alberta and is looking for a loving family. His favourite treats are cherry blasters and skittles! He enjoys playing catch with his friends and loves to be in big groups. Matt is looking for his forever home (or maybe just for the football season).

The Okanagan Sun are looking for Room Rentals or Billet families from July to November. Seasons tickets will be included.

Please contact Tamiko Lyle for more information;

1(250)2120058

tamikolyle@hotmail.com

 

#sunfamily

 

Sun extend Head Coach Macauley

The Okanagan Sun have re-signed Head Coach Ben Macauley to a one-year contract extension.

That deal will take him through to the end of the 2018 season, which will be Macauley’s third as head coach of the team.

Over that time, he’s lead the Sun to a regular season record of 15-4-1, including back-to-back playoff appearances.

“I’m excited to be back to work with this team,” said Macauley.

“I think we’re just at the start of something great, and this season really will be a chance to put our mark on the league. 2018 will be our best year yet.”

In Macauley’s tenure, the team has finished second in the BCFC and hosted a home playoff game in both seasons.

Sun President Les Weiss says the team is pleased with the direction that Macauley has taken the team, both on and off the field.

“We’re pleased to have extended Ben’s contract for the 2018 season. His hard work and dedication is evident when you look at all the young talent he was able to assemble last season, and we believe the organization is in good hands moving forward,” he said.

Macauley took over as head coach after the departure of Shane Beatty at the end of the 2015 season.

In a previous stint with the Sun, Macauley served as an offensive line coach in 2012 and 2013, before joining the staff of the Kelowna Secondary School Owls.

2017 Okanagan Sun Awards Banquet

The Okanagan Sun honoured its 2017 team on Monday night, with the annual Awards Banquet.

The award winners are chosen by the Sun coaching staff, with the exception of Most Popular Player, which is selected by the players on the team.

The Sun also paid tribute to the 10 players graduating from the team this season. They are: Beck Fullerton, Eli Haynes, Kent Lawrence, Liam Crane, Hayward Beasley, Rashaun Simonise, Gabriel St. Germain, Carter Comeau, Ryan Ewashko, and Zac Newman.

*The David Nagy Memorial Bursary is awarded every year, in honour of the former coach and member of the Sun organization. Nagy’s nephew Chris was on hand to award the bursary cheque to Elias Rodriguez. Players are eligible for the award if they’re in their second, third, fourth, or fifth season with the Sun, and are studying full-time at either UBCO or Okanagan College.