By Marissa Tiel
The Okanagan Sun’s offensive line put on a show at the Apple Bowl Sunday afternoon as the Sun cruised to a 47-21 semifinal victory over the Valley Huskers to advance to the Cullen Cup final.
Quarterback Matt Mahler had nothing but praise for the unit following the game.
“MVP of this game goes to the O Line,” he said. “They protected me. They opened up holes for (Kelton) Kouri and every other running back… they’re down here fighting.”
The Sun running backs would feature heavily in the game. Kouri led them with three touchdowns, scoring his first early in the first quarter with a 67-yard run to put the Sun up 7-0.
It wasn’t long before the Huskers capitalized on penalties and a trick play to make it 15-14 at the half.
“They hit a couple of gifts from us which were unnecessary roughness penalties, which we can’t take and that’s undisciplined” said Sun head coach Ben Macauley. “We put them at the one-yard line so it’s tough for them not to score if we give them that.”
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The Sun cleaned up their play in the second half and doubled their score, running the football up the field as often as they could.
“Why take the risk and put the ball in the air when we can put it in a playmaker’s hands,” said Mahler.
With the offensive line making holes in the Huskers defense, running the ball seemed like a natural choice.
“They were playing very motivated inspired football, so we figured we’d trust them; we’d trust our ball carriers,” said Macauley. “Our offensive line blew holes wide open all day. That’s a lot of fun to watch.”
The Sun, who won the BCFC regular season, will take on the Langley Rams in the Cullen Cup final next weekend. The Rams beat the VI Raiders 37-26 in the other semifinal to advance.
The Sun and the Rams split their two regular season meetings.
Macauley is expecting a challenge in the Rams.
“We’re going to have to play our best football yet,” he said. “I think we can win, but we’re going to have to absolutely not make some of the mistakes we made today.”
The Sun are looking forward to at least one more game on home turf.
“It’s a chance for us to play again in front of our home crowd and really put our mark on the league this year,” said Macauley. “We’re making memories. This is stuff guys are going to remember forever.”
The Cullen Cup final is set to take place Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. the Apple Bowl.
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