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