It was a meeting of the 2018 Cullen Cup rivals, and the results were pretty much the same.
Langley Rams romped to a lopsided 44-9 victory over the Okanagan Sun at home in McLeod Athletic Park (MAP) on Saturday (Sept. 28), clinching first place in the B.C. Football Conference and home-field advantage throughout the Canadian Junior Football League playoffs.
Quarterback Duncan Little threw for 371 yards and four touchdowns, three of them to Khalik Johnson and the other to Liam Stewart.
Johnson caught eight passes for 147 yards as well. Jesse Walker hauled down five passes for 115 yards.
Andrew Pocrnic tallied two more touchdowns on 16 carries and 93 yards.
Rams defence held the Sun to just 55 yards on the ground and forced four turnovers.
They also collected four sacks, two from Kyle Clarot while Cole Barron had five tackles, 1.5 sacks and forced a fumble.
The lone Sun touchdown came on an Alex Douglas 56-yard pass to Conor Richard.
Rams are now undefeated in eight games.
TOUCHDOWN RAMS!! Khalik Johnson scores his third of the day!! Rams 43 Sun 9 | 5:39 Q4 pic.twitter.com/WEgXufNfya
— Langley Rams (@LangleyRams) September 29, 2019
When the Rams and Sun met in the Cullen Cup a year ago, Rams took the win with a 39-7 final score, earning a trip to the national semi-finals where they defeated the Ontario Football Conference champions Hamilton Hurricanes 39-14.
In the Canadian Bowl, four-time champions Saskatoon Hilltops earned their fifth championship at the expense of the Langley Rams, with a final score of 58-21.
With a way cleared to the conference semi finals, Ram head coach and general manager Howie Zaron is considering reducing the playing time of certain top performers in the remaining games to make sure they are completely healthy for the semis.
“We’ve set ourselves up in a pretty good space,” Zaron told the Langley Advance Times.
That doesn’t mean the team will be taking it easy.
The final road trip of the season on Saturday (Oct. 5) will see the Rams head to Chilliwack to play the Valley Huskers, a team that inspires a certain amount of enmity among Langley players.
“I know our guy are pretty amped up [about the Huskers],” Zaron told the Langley Advance Times.
“No motivation is necessary”
Following the game against the Huskers, Rams return home to play the Kamloops Broncos on Oct. 19.
Zaron said the team has built on last year’s version of the Rams, finding new talent to fill gaps created by graduating players.
“We recruited really well in the off season,” Zaron observed.
Rams fans have been filling the home stands to watch the Langley team cut a swath through rival teams, with some travelling long distances to follow the team on the road.
“We’ve got the best fans in the conference,” Zaron commented.
BCFC semi finals are scheduled to get underway Oct. 26, with the Cullen Cup set for Nov.2 or 3.