The Langley Rams hobbled into Kelowna with an injury riddled squad and while they came out of the gate strong still found themselves down 30-3 heading into the fourth quarter. A couple of quick touchdowns made things interesting as they Rams pulled to within two scores at 30-17 but they didn’t have enough in the tank to finish the comeback versus the hometown Sun. Kelowna scored to put and end to the Rams comeback bid midway through the quarter and the teams traded late touchdowns to make the final score 44-24 Sun.
The teams played to a stalemate through most of the first quarter and the Rams looked poised to open the scoring with a Tiernan Docherty field goal, but the steady kicker was just wide on his 35 yard attempt and the score stayed 0-0 with three minutes to go in the opening frame. It was the Sun who opened the scoring as they went up 7-0 with a minute to go in the first, Docherty would concede a safety on the final play of the quarter to give the Sun a 9-0 lead.
Docherty would get another shot at a three pointer early in the second quarter and made no mistake from 33 yards out to make the score 9-3, Kelowna scored another touchdown late in the quarter and went into the break up 16-3.
The Sun went up 23-3 early in the third and went up 30-3 on the second play of the fourth quarter, less than two minutes later Rams quarterback Colby Peters, who came off the bench in relief of starter Tommy Robertson, connected with Jay Jay Jackson on a 53 yard passing play to make the score 30-10. The Rams kick-cover team forced a Sun fumble on the ensuing kickoff and it was recovered by Jacob Dodd on the Sun one yard line, one play later Stephen Legare took the quarterback sneak into the end-zone for a touchdown to make the score 30-17, any thoughts of a Rams comeback were erased with a Sun score three minutes later, Peters hit Eldridge Sellers V with a 32 yard touchdown strike for the final points of the game but it was too little too late for the Rams.
Despite the final score the teams were not far apart statistically and only a couple of Sun long bombs apart in total offense, the Rams amassed just under 400 yards net offense and Sun tallied 472. The Rams had 18 first downs, the Sun 20, combined the Rams completed 19 of 29 passes while the Sun were 18 of 27. The Rams were flagged 13 times for 100 yards in penalties and the Sun were nabbed 7 times for 62 yards.
While the sheer number of players missing Sunday’s game had a definite negative effect on the team’s play it also had a positive side as it gave some of the Rams young guns opportunity to play in a crucial game versus a strong defensive unit, and judging by their performance the future looks bright for the Rams.
First year quarterback Tommy Robertson went two and a half quarters for the Rams and completed 9 of 18 pass attempts for 130 yards, 0 TDS, 0 Intereceptions, the New Westminster Hyacks product was replaced midway through the third by rookie Colby Peters, who had a stellar outing coming off the bench for the Rams. The North Surrey Bears Midget product completed 10 of 11 pass attempts for 200 yards with a pair of touchdown tosses and no interceptions in just one and a half quarters of play.
The Sun threw a couple of long bomb touchdowns to former CIS Star Rashaun Simonise but the receiver who stole the show was the Rams Eldridge Sellers V, who made several spectacular catches and led all receivers in the game with 7 receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown, it was a breakout game for the talented Terry Fox Grad who made the best of his increased role with the team as a result of receiver injuries and the unexpected absence of star receiver Khalik Johnson, who was unable to attend Sunday’s game for personal reasons.
Another receiver who made the most of his extra playing time was Rams rookie Jay Jay Jackson, the speedy Centennial Centaurs grad had five catches for 93 yards and zipped down the sidelines on a 53 yard touchdown that was about 10 yards pass and 43 yards run, Jackson also returned three kick-offs for 35 yards.
Joseph Carter is in his second year with the club but saw limited action in his rookie season, Carter has seen much more ball this year and keeps getting better with every carry, the tough running Langley Midget product pounded out 63 yards on 8 carries, most of them right into the heart of the strong Sun defensive front seven. Joe Jr. finished the season as the Conferences fourth leading rusher with 527 yards on 80 carries and was third in rushing average with an impressive 6.5 yards per carry.
Leading the way defensively for the Rams on Sunday was Shaiheem Charles-Brown with 3 tackles and a pair of quarterback sacks, Isaiah Stewart and Nick Westad had a sack apiece while Defensive Backs Danny Stanger and Drew Belgrave each had five tackles, the most noticeable absence for the Rams was in the defensive backfield on Sunday with starters John Beckerleg, Jesse Cervas and Bashiru Sise-Odaa all not dressed.
With the loss the Rams finish the season with a 6-4 record and in third place, one win behind the second place Sun and two back of the Rebels.
The third place finish puts the Rams in the BCFC Playoffs for the 28th Consecutive Season, the last time a Rams team missed the playoffs was in 1988.
The Rams now get a much needed two week break before heading back up the Coquahalla for the BCFC Semi-Final versus the Sun on Sunday October 16th, kick-off is 1PM at the Apple Bowl.