The Valley Huskers ran into a brick wall in Kelowna Saturday night, falling 43-13 to the Okanagan Sun in B.C. Football Conference action.
The Husker defence allowed 542 total yards to the high powered Okanagan offence, with the Sun doing most of their damage on the ground.
The home team’s massive offensive line opened gaping holes for running back Kelton Kouri, who carried 10 times for 140 yards and a touchdown.
One of Kouri’s runs was a 95 yarder.
Sun quarterback Jacob Loucks added 89 yards on six scrambles, including a 33 yarder, and Lawrenzo Dissee carried five times for 55 yards.
Loucks didn’t have a great day passing, completing just seven of 19 attempts against the Husker secondary. His yardage total (201) was inflated by one big play to Javen Kaechele, who caught an 84 yarder. Loucks threw touchdown tosses to Kaechele and Kouri.
“I thought our secondary played very well, and if you look at Loucks’ completion rate, it wasn’t good,” said Husker head coach Bob Reist. “Obiously they caught us on that one big play, but our secondary did a good job limiting their effectiveness through the air.
“We gave up 330-odd yards on the ground, so that’s quite concerning, but the secondary did its job well.”
Dustin Magee accounted for another Okanagan major, returning a blocked punt 17 yards for a score.
Sun placekicker Austin Wegner booted five chip-shot field goals from 17, 17, 20, 27 and 29 yards out.
The Husker offence had its troubles against the stout Okanagan D.
Quarterback Julian Wytinck started the game and completed 14 of 30 passes for 143 yards. He was knocked out on a hit by an Okanagan defender that resulted in that player being tossed from the game.
Backup Nicolas Nica finished the game, completing six of 20 for 126 yards.
“Nic came in and did a couple of very good things,” Reist said. “He moved the ball pretty well and it was probably the best game he’s been a part of in his two years here, so that’s encouraging.”
Brandon Poulin was the favourite target with nine catches for 124 yards and Remis Tshiovo caught three for 77.
Top receiver Anthony Dyck missed the game with an injury and Reist is listing his status as day to day. Wytinck is now also day to day.
The QBs combined to throw four interceptions (Wytinck with one, Nica with three). Tyler Going had two with Magee and Jordan Rae also getting their mitts on errant passes.
The Huskers lost two fumbles and turned the ball over on downs.
The running game struggled, generating 35 yards on 14 carries. Rookie Von Richardson was the high-yardage man with 15 yards on four carries.
The Huskers got their lone major from Tshiovo, who recovered an onside punt.
Kicker Ethan Homan nailed field goal attempts from 33 and 42 yards out.
GW Graham grad Treyvon Walsh was a bright spot on the Husker D, producing an interception and two pass knockdowns. Simon Winsnes and Matthew Beaudry led the team with four solo tackles apiece.
After three straight on the road the Huskers (4-3) return home this weekend to host Victoria’s Westshore Rebels (3-3-1).
Kickoff is 2 p.m. Saturday at Exhibition Stadium.