BCFC: VI Raiders @ Okanagan Sun – Cullen Cup Championship Preview

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Sunday, October 25th – Apple Bowl

Kickoff at 1 PM

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Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow.com

After the conclusion of a highly competitive semi-finals, the Cullen Cup Championship will feature the VI Raiders and the Okanagan Sun as both teams look to be crowned the BCFC champions.

After beating out the Kamloops Broncos in overwhelming fashion by a score of 75-7 during last week’s semi-final, the Okanagan Sun are looking like the team to beat heading into the Final. In last week’s game, the Sun were productive on both sides of the ball producing a whopping 605 total yards of offence while the defence contained the Broncos to just 128 yards of offence. At quarterback, Cam Bedore led the team for three quarters and finished 16-of-25 for 328 yards and four touchdown passes, while backup Josiah Joseph went a perfect 7-of-7 for 122 yards and two scoring passes. The receiving corps did most of the work for the Sun offence, with BCFC All-Star Kyle Kawamoto catching seven passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns and Kyle Patchell bringing in eleven catches for 176 yards and three touchdowns.

On defence the Sun tallied five sacks, which were recorded by Lucas Machado (two), Jonas Gering, Ryley Butler and Cory McCoy. Cord Deline led the team with two interceptions, including a highlight-reel 86-yard pick-six.  Wes Geisler also had an interception, while Layne Hull and Keagan Hughes each recorded six tackles in the team’s win.

The VI Raiders didn’t get into the finals as effortlessly as the Sun did but they showed a lot of heart in last week’s nail-biting 28-27 win against the defending Cullen Cup champion, Langley Rams. Quarterback Liam O’Brien finished the game 13-of-22 for 279 yards, rushed for a score, and threw three touchdowns in the win, including a 56-yard catch-and-run to Dustin Rodriguez. Rodriguez finished with a game-high six catches for 133 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Arthur Fabbro caught five balls for 116 yards and a score.

The Raiders defence was also crucial in the win, intercepting quarterback Bobby Pospischil three times including with 14 seconds to play to help seal the win. Other highlights on defence included a sack by Kaelen Botel, and picks by Adam McDonald, Travis Novak and BCFC Rookie of the Year Cole Virtanen. Virtanen who also led the team with six tackles.

After losing in last year’s Cullen Cup, will the Sun be able to sweep the season and the take home the crown? Or will the Raiders find a way to play spoiler? Find out this Sunday!

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Cullen Cup Semi-Final: Langley Rams at VI Raiders

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Saturday, October 17 – Caledonia Park

Kickoff at 1PM

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Photo Credit: Troy Landreville/Langley Advance

In the other Cullen Cup semi-final, the number two ranked Vancouver Island Raiders (7-3) get the home field advantage as they host the number three ranked Langley Rams (6-4) for a chance to make the Cullen Cup Final.

The Raiders concluded their regular season with a 38-9 victory over the Valley Huskers and will look to out-edge the Rams in their upcoming tilt. During the regular season, Dexter Shea and Cole Virtanen proved they were the guys to beat on the field after ranking second and third, respectively, in the conference in tackles and receiving BCFC Defensive All-Star honours. Shea finished the season with 38 tackles, two knockdowns, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, while Virtanen finished with 31 tackles, six knockdowns, one forced fumble, and five picks. On offence, look for quarterback Liam O’Brien to lead the team after completing 128-of-204 passes for 2089 yards and 20 touchdowns during the regular season, with Dustin Rodriguez and Arthur Fabbro as his favourite targets.

The Rams are also coming into the semi-final on a high note after a 35-23 win over the Westshore Rebels and look to claim their first victory over the Raiders this season. The Rams had several BCFC all-stars this season, including Brock Gowanlock (17 tackles, 5 assists, 13.5 sacks, 1 knockdown, 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown, 2 forced fumbles) and Alex Agnoletto (30 tackles, 11 assists, 4 sacks, 1 interception). On offence, Nathan Lund also racked up BCFC Offensive All-Star honours after finishing second in the conference with 74 carries for 621 yards and five touchdowns to wrap up the season. On special teams, look for kickoff return specialist and defensive back John Beckerleg to do some work after ranking first in the league in kickoff returns with 14 returns for 456 yards, averaging 32.6 yards per return. On defence, Beckerleg also received All-Star honours for the second consecutive year after amassing 16 tackles, 4 assists, 1 knockdown, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 interception during the season.

In their two meetings this season, the VI Raiders swept the series by a combined score of 46-32. Can the Rams prove that they’re a different team, or will the Raiders punch a ticket to the Cullen Cup Final? Tune in this week to find out!