Yes, the Langley Rams lost 15-10 to the Okanagan Sun in a much-anticipated B.C. Football Conference showdown Saturday night at McLeod Stadium.
But the Rams, who saw their record drop to 4-2 with the loss, didn’t make things easy for a Kelowna team that is now 6-0 and has made a habit of batting foes around this season.
The Rams held a 10-7 lead and had the Sun pinned in their own end of the field with 11:11 remaining in the fourth quarter when, suddenly, the game field lights went out.
After a 30-minute delay, both the lights in the park and the Sun offence came to life, and the Kelowna squad put together a 10-play, 95-yard scoring drive to take a 14-10 lead with seven minutes to go in the game.
The visitors tacked on a single off a missed field goal single late to make the final score 15-10.
The Sun averaged 39 points per game going into match-up, so for the Rams to limit Okanagan to 15 is something to hang their collective hats on.
Langley’s head coach Khari Joseph didn’t see it that way – he believes the Rams missed a chance to end the Sun’s year-and-a-half long, BCFC winning streak.
“We had an opportunity to win the game at the end, and we weren’t able to capitalize on our opportunity. That’s what it comes down to,” Joseph said. “The guys played with a lot of effort, but you can’t turn the ball over and not execute in the red zone if you want to beat a good team like that. We were there at the end, so we know what we have to do the next time [we play them.]”
The Sun opened the scoring when the usually sure-handed Nick Agnoletto mishandled a Sun punt at the Rams goal line, and the loose ball was recovered by the Sun in the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 6:44 to go in the first quarter.
Tiernan Docherty accounted for all of the hosts’ points, hitting field goals of 47, 34, and 30 yards in the second quarter to give the Rams a 9-7 lead at the break.
A missed 29-yard field goal single gave the Rams a 10-7 lead early in the third stanza, and that score held until the lights went out.
Asked if he believes the Sun are beatable, Joseph answered, “We should have won the game, honestly. That’s how we felt – we gave the game to them rather than them taking it away from us.”
He continued, “It’s the same theme – discipline and penalties. After the power went out, we came out flat. That’s when they had their drive and went up on us. The unfortunate thing is we had them, and we all believed we would win that game but it comes down to mental lapses at crucial times. They’re a good team but they’re not unbeatable. We were right there with them and controlled the game at times.”
Langley and Okanagan have the best defences in the BCFC (they have each given up just 94 points this season) so not suprisingly, ‘D’ dominated, making for a miserable night for pivots on both teams.
Sun and Rams platooned four quarterbacks who went a combined 22 of 54 for 276 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns.
The Rams have a week off before returning to action on Sept. 10 when they host the Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island (V.I.) Raiders on Paul McCallum Night.
Joseph said this weekend’s bye will allow the Rams to recharge their batteries.
“It’s a good thing at this point in the football season. Guys get beat up,” Joseph said. “They’re going so hard in the middle of July, so it’s always nice to take a step back and re-evaluate the team process, and make sure we’re doing things right in order [the season] finish strong.”
FINAL WHISTLE: The Rams sit third in the BCFC behind the Sun and the 5-1 Westshore Rebels. The Raiders are fourth at 3-3. Sitting at the bottom of the standings are the Kamloops Broncos and Valley Huskers, both still winless at 0-6.
– Files from Chris Swartz, Rams media