Written by: Wayne Moore

Nicholas Dheilly came to the Okanagan Sun with tons of hype and expectations.

Dheilly, a defensive lineman, was Canada West rookie of the year in 2016 as a member of the Regina Rams. In two seasons there, before coming to the Okanagan, he was fourth all-time in team career sacks with 10 1/2.

Those skills were on display last Saturday, as he wreaked havoc in the Westshore Rebels backfield, amassing four quarterback sacks, two tackles and one assisted stop. The four sacks is one shy of the team and BCFC single game record.

His performance earned him both BCFC and CJFL defensive player of the week honours.

“I do feel a little pressure to perform because you come from such a high place, and you are expected to prove what you can do,” Dheilly said prior to practice earlier this week.

“As a whole, this defence is amazing. Our front seven is very good, and it’s not just one player that runs it, it’s the entire team. Me getting four sacks every game doesn’t matter, we still need to get the win at the end of the day.”

Dheilly says there has been a big adjustment coming down from Canadian college to junior ball.

He says it’s a different kind of football at the junior level, especially the speed of the game which he says is much faster at the college level.

As for personal success or sack records, Dheilly says that’s not what’s important.

“Personally, it’s not about working on myself, it’s working together as a team and as a defence and getting better as a unit.

“Coming together is really important.”

Sun head coach Ben Macauley says he’s been impressed with what Dheilly has brought to the team, particularly his leadership both on, and off the field.

As for what he’s done on the field, Macauley says Dheilly has more to give.

“There’s definitely more, because we’ve only scratched the surface of what he’s capable of,” said Macauley.

“The pressure on him to perform is something he has to get used to. Every time he steps on the field, whether it’s now or next year, he’s going to have pressure on him.”

Dheilly and the Sun return to the field Saturday when they face the vastly improved Valley Huskers.

It’s the third of four straight road games to open the season for the Sun.

They don’t play their home opener until Sept. 8, when the Langley Rams come to town.

Article Via Castanet and Wayne Moore


Jakob Loucks hopes to be ready for Saturday when the Okanagan Sun battle the Valley Huskers in Chilliwack. -Image: James MacKenzie/Black Press

Okanagan is looking to get back on the winning track after BCFC tie against Westshore last weekend.

A late hit late in the first half of last Saturday’s game against the Westshore Rebels sent pivot Jakob Loucks to the sidelines for the duration of the night at Westhills Stadium.

If all goes as planned this week, the Okanagan Sun hope to see its No. 1 quarterback back on the field Saturday at Exhibition Stadium when the B.C. Football Conference Club takes on the Valley Huskers.

“Keeping him out in the second half (against the Rebels) was precautionary, we felt there was nothing to gain by forcing him back in and risking further injury,” head coach Ben Macauley said of Loucks, who played last season with the Mount Allison University Mounties. “He was having trouble with mobility and we wanted to be careful with any symptoms he might be having.

“We think he’ll be OK, we’ll watch him closely this week,” added Macauley, “but with seven games still to go in the season we didn’t want to take any unnecessary chances if we don’t have to.”

Whether Loucks starts or rests in favour of backup Matthew Mahler, the Sun isn’t certain which version of the Valley Huskers they will encounter Saturday—the one that upset the Vancouver Island Raiders 33-31 on opening night; or the one that was soundly drubbed last week (42-9) at home to the Langley Rams.

Regardless, Ben Macauley said his club will be taking nothing for granted.

“The (Huskers) are potentially a physical team, they definitely have some playmakers, and (coach) Bob Reist has done an excellent job with their program. They probably aren’t where they’d like to be but we can’t take anyone lightly. We have to give them the full package and play them like we’d play any team. We expect a hard fought game.”

Last Saturday night in Victoria, with Loucks sidelined and Mahler at the controls in the second half, the Sun (1-0-1) went on to settle for an 18-18 draw with the hometown Rebels (1-0-1).

Down by one point with just six seconds to play, Okanagan could have just as easily departed the island with a victory, but Isaac Wegner’s field goal attempt from 21 yards away sailed wide.

A win on the road against one of the BCFC’s top clubs would have been preferable, but Macauley said the Sun can use the missed opportunity as motivation going forward.

“We try to see it as a positive, but it did feel more like a loss for us than anything, so we can use this to keep us hungry,” said Macauley. “I think what it reinforced was that we’re an even-keeled team. We got down in the last part of the game and Tye Kitzman made a great play to get the block and get the ball for us.

“At no point did we feel like hanging our heads. It says a lot about our team’s resolve…it was good to be challenged early in the season.”

Macauley said the Sun still has “a lot of work to do offensively” but on the upside, the club’s defense continues to live up to all expectations.

The Sun has yielded just 24 points in two games this season, with half of those points coming on turnovers by the offense.

“They’re an impressive group,” Macauley said of the Sun defense. “We have playmakers and all-stars at every position group. They put a lot of pressure on quarterbacks and they can be very opportunistic.”

Kick off Saturday at Exhibition Stadium between the Sun and Huskers is 7 p.m.

Okanagan’s home opener is Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Apple Bowl against the Langley Rams.

Dheilly player of week…

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CJFL News@CJFLnews

The announces the Week 2 Players of the Week, now VOTE to make one of them the Fans Choice Player of the Week, polls open now. @LangleyRams@okanagan_sun@ViRaiders 

“He has incredible speed and awareness,” Ben Macauley said of Dheilly. “Everybody’s when he gets on the field, to see what’s going to happen.”

Article via Kelowna Capital News and Warren Henderson


Sun dismantle Broncos in season opener

The Okanagan Sun kicked off 2018 with a bang, defeating the Kamloops Broncos 56-6 at Hillside Stadium on Sunday. Both offences engaged in an early battle for field position, as the game remained scoreless midway through the first quarter. It was the Sun defence that opened up the scoring, as Broncos quarterback Reid Vankoughnett and his receiver got crossed up. His pass sailed right into the arms of all-star cornerback Tye Kitzman, who ran it all the way in for a pick-six. That gave Okanagan a 7-0 lead with 2:33 left in the first.

In the second quarter, the Sun offence settled in and began to march up the field. Veteran running back Kelton Kouri made it 14-0, on a 19-yard reception from quarterback Jakob Loucks. After a botched Broncos punt lead to a fumble right in front of the goal line, Loucks punched in his first rushing touchdown from one yard out, to extend the lead to 21-0. Minutes later, Jesse Amankwaa ran it into the endzone from 12 yards out, which quickly built up a 28-0 lead. Before the half came to an end, Kouri added his second touchdown of the day, this one coming on the ground, from 6 yards out. Leading 35-0, Sun kicker Isaac Wegner connected on a 42-yard field goal, which gave Okanagan a 38-0 lead at the half. With a lopsided score, the Sun took the opportunity to get some backups into the game over the course of the second half. A 29-yard field goal from Isaac Wegner pushed the lead to 41-0, before Kamloops got on the board.

With Sun quarterback Matthew Mahler under pressure, the ball was knocked loose as he was hit by lineman Damian Person. Fifth-year teammate Kurtis Mutschmann grabbed the ball, and rumbled in for a touchdown. After missing a two-point convert, the score was cut to 41-6. But on the ensuing kickoff, linebacker Conor Richard turned on the jets, and returned the kick more than 70 yards for another Sun score, giving his team a 48-6 lead.

Things settled down in the fourth quarter, until Wegner attempted a 41-yard field goal. His kick missed the uprights, but went out the back of the endzone, which extended the Sun lead to 49-6. The offence finished off the scoring a couple minutes later, when Mahler connected with rookie receiver Cole Stroud, for his first reception and touchdown catch in a Sun jersey. Wegner connected on his seventh convert of the afternoon, giving the Sun a 56-6 victory.

Up next, the Sun continue a four-game season-opening road trip on the Island, against the Westshore Rebels.

Kickoff is set for next Saturday (Aug. 11) at 4 pm.

You can watch the game live  by clicking here, along with a radio broadcast live on AM 1150, beginning at 3:30 pm.

Evan Cooke

Okanagan Sun Play by Play

Okanagan Sun Win Opening Game by 50

A Sun ‘Loops’-sided opener

The Okanagan Sun put their highly touted recruit class on display in their BC Football Conference opener Sunday in Kamloops.

But, it was three returning veterans who stole the show in a 56-6 romp of the Broncos.

While the newly retooled offence took a quarter to get untracked, veteran defensive back Tye Kitzman showed why he is one of the league’s best.

Kitzman, who picked off six passes in 2017, including one for a touchdown, picked up where he left off with a pick-six late in the opening quarter, to put the Sun up 7-0.

Kelton Kouri scored a pair of touchdowns, on through the air and one on the ground, during a dominant second quarter.

Linebacker Conor Richard returned a third quarter kickoff for another Sun major, and stripped the punter from the ball during a punt attempt, giving the Sun the ball on the Broncos one.

Taking its cue from the defence, the offence started rolling, putting up points on its next five possessions.

After a poor punt gave the Sun good field position at mid field, highly touted quarterback Jakob Loucks needed just four plays to find the end zone, hitting Kouri on a 19-yard strike on the opening play of the second quarter. The drive was capped by Loucks’ 26 yard scamper.

After Richard stripped the punter of the ball on the one, Loucks snuck over on the next play to put the Sun 21-0.

Newly-signed running back Jesse Amankwaa found pay dirt from 12 yards out, before Loucks engineered another four-play drive, capped off by Kouri’s second major, a six-yard run.

Isaac Wegner converted all five touchdowns and booted a 42-yard field goal to put the Sun up 38-0 at the half.

It could have been worse, but Loucks mishandled the snap on third -and-goal from the one on the final play of the half.

The first year pivot finished the half eight for 13 for 127 yards and the touchdown.

He gave way to second-year quarterback Matthew Mahler, who directed the team during the second half, as most of the starters gave way to the second team over the final 30 minutes.

Mahler engineered one scoring drive, hitting rookie receiver Cole Stround with a late fourth quarter strike.

The lone bright spot for the Broncos came midway through the third quarter when veteran Kurtis Mutschmann stripped Mahler of the football and rambled in for a touchdown. The two-point convert was not successful.

Richard made sure the momentum would not swing, taking the ensuing kickoff all the way to the house, putting the Sun up 48-6.

In other first week action, the Valley Huskers snapped a 31-game losing streak spanning three-plus seasons, upsetting the VI Raiders 33-31 in Chilliwack.

The Huskers scored 30 unanswered points, including 21 in the final quarter in a thrilling 33-31 upset of the reigning BCFC champion VI Raiders.

The Westshore Rebels opened the season Saturday with a 19-16 win over the Langley Rams.

The Sun get an early season test next weekend when they travel to Victoria to face the always tough Rebels.

Article Via Wayne Moore and Castanet News


CJFL Season Preview: Okanagan SUN

By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

The Okanagan Sun earned a home playoff date last season, but it didn’t help as they were upset by the eventual Cullen Cup champion VI Raiders.  That loss has fueled their fire entering this year.

The Sun have retooled with a number of players from U Sports particularly on the offensive and defensive lines.  If these players perform as expected they could be difficult to deal with this season.

Ryan Watters talks with head coach Ben Macauley who enters his third season and is about to kick-off with their main camp.


Sun Announce 2018 Signings

We were and continue to be aggressive this offseason in our recruiting efforts. We have a great mixture of guys with high potential for the future as well as guys who will compete at an elite level right away. Coaches Nathan Mollard and Johannes Van Leenen have done an outstanding job.”

            Head Coach – Ben Macauley













Photo by Troy Fleece.

Nicholas Dheilly takes on UBC running back Ben Cummings

By: Mike Sill – June 6th, 2018

The University of Regina Rams defence took a heavy hit this past Monday, as 2016 Canada West Rookie of the Year and 2017 Canada West All-Star Nicholas Dheilly officially de-committed from the program.

Dheilly — whose 10.5 career sacks rank fourth all-time in program history — says the decision came down to a variety of factors, including wanting to be on a “Vanier-caliber” team for his draft year in 2019.

The defensive end will suit up for the historically strong Okanagan Sun of the Canadian Junior Football League this season, as due to transfer rules, he needs to sit out a full year before moving on to a new U SPORTS school for his draft year.

Dheilly alongside Sun head coach Ben Macauley. Photo by the Okanagan Sun


“After next year, [the Rams] lose a lot of guys and we’re going into my draft year, so I wouldn’t mind being at a really good place and team going forward for my draft year,” he said.

“[Deciding to de-commit] took me a while. It wasn’t a quick decision. It took me a few months to really decide what I wanted to do.”

Rams head coach Steve Bryce was fully supportive of Dheilly’s decision, saying the move was best for his “health and wellbeing.”

“I think this move is probably the best for him, personally. And I think it’s a healthy decision for him to make,” Bryce said. “I think he’s probably in a better place for himself, and he can focus on the things he needs to do to make the next steps in his career that he wants to make.”

Dheilly, a product of local powerhouse Dr. Martin LeBoldus, was recruited by schools across Canada coming out of high school, including Guelph and Simon Fraser, before ultimately deciding on Regina for the 2016 season. While he hasn’t made his intentions clear about which program he’ll be suiting up for in 2019, there’s sure to be a significant amount of interest in the six-foot-four, 220 pounder.

In the meantime, he’ll be able to make an immediate impact with the Sun. Okanagan head coach Ben Macauley originally began talking with the defensive end in March, after Bryce made it known to him that Dheilly may not be returning to the team.

“Steve [Bryce] clearly wants what’s best for his players, and he made it clear that he thinks [Dheilly] deserves an opportunity to play somewhere, and if we were going to go after anyone, he’d be worth going after,” Macauley said.

“We run a defence that’s sort of conducive to allowing the ends some opportunity to be the guy, to make the plays and to come off the edge. We’ve got some great guys coming in to provide pressure up the middle, which will allow Nick to really get one-on-one with tackles, and [the opposition] is going to have to help on the edge. They’re going to have to game-plan around him.”


Article via CUSN

Make or break year for Sun

Call it what you like, boom or bust, make or break.

Either way, 2018 is an important season for the Okanagan Sun.

No more excuses says head coach Ben Macauley.

He says the team is going to do everything it can to win.

“We’re going to do it the right way, but we’re not going to hold anything back. We’ll say what we think and do what we feel will put us in the best position,” said Macauley.

He says the goal is to compete at the highest level.

“Our community, our city, our board, our supporters, our sponsors, expect us to take this next step.

“We’re investing a lot of time, money and energy into this season, and it’s not a pass or fail, but we do expect to have a high level of success. There’s not going to be a pass we’ve been given the last few years based on injuries or our newness to the program.”

A lot of that investment has come in recruiting players the team believes can take them to the next level.

Two of those, quarterback Jakob Loucks and defensive end Nicholas Dheilly, are among the top recruits in the country.

“Not to take anything away from the rest of our class, but these two guys are kind of our marquee guys and are established. They have not just played, but been quite successful at the top level of amateur sport in Canada.”

Loucks comes to the Sun after two seasons as a starter with the Mount Allison Mounties. He was U-Sports rookie of the year in 2016.

Dheilly, who comes to the Sun from the University of Regina Rams, was named the team’s defensive player of the year last season and was a Canada West all-star.

While those two head a strong recruiting class, Macauley says he believes the biggest improvement this season will come along the offensive line.

“We think we have the depth there now to compete well into October. Last year we were moving guys from defence to offensive and doing it with patchwork.

“Not to say those guys didn’t do a great job of adapting, but this year we will have some of the best offensive linemen in the country.”

Macauley says the line should be anchored by 6-foot-7, 325-pound Daniel Townsend from the University of Calgary.

“He’s a true university starter, and that makes a big difference.”

Original article via Castanet 


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




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.