Photo: Contributed: CJFL-TV
The drought is over, and it couldn’t have ended on a bigger stage.
For the first time in their 42-year history, the Sun won a game on the outfield, enduring a thrilling 21-19 win over the Regina Thunder in the Canadian Bowl at Regina’s frigid Mosaic Field.
The Sun trailed 15-0 at one point in the second quarter and 15-7 at the half before roaring back in the third quarter with two touchdowns to take a lead they would never lose.
But, the turning point in the game came at the end of the first half. Trailing 15-0 and having trouble moving the ball against a tough Thunder defense, quarterback Dominic Britton marched the team 75 yards in 10 plays in less than two minutes to put the Sun on the board.
The drive was marked by connections of 15 and 20 yards to receiver Mike O’Shea and a pass interference that put the ball in Regina’s nine.
After a four-yard completion, and with the clock showing zeros, Britton hooked up with Colby Miletto from five yards out to give the Sun some life.
They take advantage of that momentum after the break.
After giving up a safety, offensive player of the game Jevan Garwood broke his biggest run of the day, rushing down the stomach for a 53-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to three.
Then the defense took over. On Regina’s next possession, off second and ninth, Dawson Puk made the biggest defensive play of the game, intercepting a pass from Carter Shewchuk on Regina’s 49.
He returned the ball to the 32-yard line, giving Britton a short field to work with.
Three plays later, on third-and-two, Britton hit O’Shea from 24 yards. Liam Attwood’s extra point put the Sun up 21-17 with just three minutes left in the quarter.
They had a chance to increase the lead to a converted touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but O’Shea couldn’t handle the snap on a 34-yard field goal attempt to return the ball to the Thunder for four.
The Sun defense, which gave up two touchdowns in the second quarter, came out big down the stretch, flexing but refusing to break.
They kept the Thunder on third down deep inside their end three times in the fourth quarter. They held third-and-eight on their 13 while holding a four-point lead and then, after giving up a safety with 35 seconds left, held the Thunder to third-and-four on their 44 with only seconds left and the Thunder trying to move. in range for a game-winning field goal attempt.
Britton started off slow, connecting on just two of his 10 passes in the first quarter for 21 yards before settling down during the second quarter.
He was 12-of-15 for 97 yards in the second and third quarters.
Garwood carried the rock 21 times for 127 yards and the decisive touchdown.
O’Shea was busy, catching five passes for 70 yards and the game-winning touchdown. He also had several big plays in the return game, earning him special team player of the game honors.
Puk was named the best defensive players in the game.
Saturday’s victory was the third national title for the franchise, which won its first 32 years through Nov. 12, 1988, a 50-0 blowout of the Burlington Junior Tiger Cats.
Their last national championship was a 38-26 victory over the Saskatoon Hilltops in the Apple Bowl in 2000.
The Okanagan Sun has captured the third Canadian Bowl in franchise history.
Thirty-four years after winning their first title in 1988, the Sun entered Regina and beat the Thunder 21-19.
The Sun defense, bent but not broken all day, got the Rams on third-and-four at their 44-yard line with seconds remaining to preserve the two-point win.
More details soon.
The Okanagan Sun rallied from a 15-0 deficit to take a 21-17 lead over the Regina Thunder after three quarters in the Canadian Bowl in Regina.
The Sun gave up a safety early in the third quarter to fall behind 17-7 before the offense came alive.
Jevan Garwood rushed 52 yards up the middle to cut the deficit to 17-14.
After a Dawson Puk interception on Regina’s ensuing possession, Dominic Britton hit Mike O’Shea from 24 yards on third-and-two to give the Sun their first lead of the game.
UPDATE: 12:30 p.m.
The Regina Thunder hold a 15-7 lead over the Okanagan Sun at halftime of the Canadian Bowl in Regina.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Thunder drew first blood on their first drive of the second quarter.
Regina capped a 69-yard drive with a 2-yard run by Ryland Leichert.
The Thunder got the ball back deep in Sun territory moments later when a third-down snap jumped off punter Isaac Wegner. He fell on the ball on Sol 21.
Five plays and one pass interference later, Thunder quarterback Carter Shewchuk ran for six yards to put the hosts up 14-0.
The Sun couldn’t move the ball until their last play.
Starting on his 35 after a Thunder single with less than two minutes left in the half, quarterback Dominic Britton marched the team 70 yards in 10 plays to get to the board.
Britton connected with wide receiver Mike O’Shea on passes of 15 and 20 yards, then finished with a 5-yard throw to Colby Miletto on the final play of the half.
The Thunder will receive kickoff to open the second half.
UPDATE: 11:40 a.m.
Okanagan Sun and Regina Thunder are scoreless after a Canadian Bowl quarter in Regina.
Both teams have attempted to run the football with some success.
Sun running back Jevan Garwood has 40 yards on the round in the first half.
The Sun were able to move the ball into Thunder territory, but stalled at the 30-yard line and were forced to punt.
Quarterback Dom Britton completed just two of 10 passes.
The Okanagan Sun hopes to turn back the clock to its dominating glory days of the late 1980s and 1990s.
The Sun will attempt to replicate the success of the teams in 1988 and 2000 when they captured the only national title in franchise history.
The 2022 team appears to be just as dominant as those teams, balanced on offense, defense and special teams.
In their own way, the equally dominant Regina Thunder, who traversed the Prairie Conference, won all eight games in the regular season and two more in the playoffs to earn the right to host today’s Canadian Bowl against a Sun team undefeated in 13 straight games. , including the national. semifinal two weeks ago in Windsor, Ontario.
“We’ve had a lot of time to analyze what they’re doing,” Sun head coach Travis Miller said of today’s opponent during a cold-weather practice earlier this week.
“We looked at all 10 games and had a chance to see what their trends are.
“Obviously we’re going to make adjustments to that, but we’re going to focus more on ourselves. We’ve polished who we are and what we do, and making sure we’re as prepared as possible.”
That means a lot of film work and a lot of field work.
In the movie, Miller says the Thunder seem like the best team they’ve faced all season, solid offense and defense, four strong forwards and consistent offense.
“I don’t think we’ve played against a defensive line outside of ours that’s as strong as they have. Their forward seven are pretty good.”
“It’s been a long time for us,” added veteran safety Garrett Cape.
“We’ve been working on this for a couple of years. A lot of the guys are near the end of their careers here, so it’s nice to finally get to the point where we want to be.”
Everyone is focused on the task at hand, receiver Noah Bymak said.
Oh, and it’s going to be cold in Regina. The most recent forecast calls for temperatures of -15°C with a wind chill of -24°C at match time.
Kickoff is at 11 am Pacific time on Saturday.
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