The Langley Rams had the chance to pull off a miraculous fourth-quarter comeback only to watch as a 51-yard field goal attempt came up short on the final play of the game.
The missed kick, which netted them a single point, was not enough, as the Rams lost 29-28 to the host Okanagan Sun on Saturday night at Kelowna’s Apple Bowl.
Both teams are now 4-1 in the B.C. Junior Football Conference.
“Hopefully it gives the guys some hunger,” said Langley coach Ted Kirby.
“We played 15 minutes. It’s like the bus showed up, ready to go but the players were left behind.”
“We came out flat (and) just didn’t get going until the fourth quarter and fell a little short.”
The Sun had led 29-0 early in the fourth quarter when the Rams finally made a game of it.
Quarterback Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren ran for three touchdowns and threw for a fourth, a 30-yarder to Spensor Farbatuk, all in the fourth quarter.
Kirby raved about Gilbert-Knorren afterwards. For the game, he completed 23 of 43 passes for 290 yards and also led the team in rushing, carrying the ball 11 times for 83 yards.
“He put on one of the gutsiest performances I have ever seen a kid do,” the coach said.
Kyle Albertini rushed 13 times for 79 yards while Jacob Carvery was the leading receiver, hauling in a dozen catches for 142 yards.
And after the team’s fourth touchdown, which cut the lead to 29-27, Langley went for the two-point conversion, but came up short.
The Rams lost despite out-gaining the Sun 452 yards to 359 but were done in by three turnovers — two interceptions and a fumble — as well as turning the ball over on downs once at the Okanagan 15-yard line.
The kicking game also had its trouble, as in addition to missing the potential game-winning kick, Steve Thomas missed from 37 and 38 yards.
The special teams came up with a blocked punt, which set up one of their touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, Tanner Hamade and Joe Lester each had an interception and Nate De Rappard-Scott and Alex Agnoletto had a quarterback sack apiece.
Despite the loss, Kirby was proud of how his team kept battling, despite the lopsided score early in the fourth quarter.
“They didn’t give up,” he said.
Kirby also knew there would be pitfalls over the course of a season, even after a 4-0 start that saw Langley outscore its foes by an average of 39 points per game.
“Any team, it is pretty hard to go undefeated,” he said.
“Hopefully we learn from this.”
The Rams now have two weeks to stew over their loss, as they have a bye this weekend. They return to action on Sept. 7 when they host the Westshore Rebels at McLeod Park. Game time is 4 p.m.