Photo courtesy of Bill Adams
Without a doubt he was a difference maker in the Okanagan Sun secondary until graduating from the program following the 2010 season.
Daylon Pommier was a versatile defensive back that patrolled the safety position in the latter stages of his junior career. He was a hard hitter, never shying away from the physical side of the sport and loved to talk to whoever would listen on the field, getting under the oppositions skin.
Following his outstanding junior career the RSS grad travelled to Montreal to attend and play for the University of Concordia along with some familiar faces including Sun alum Paul Spencer, Max Caron, Brendan Urness and Matt Scheurwater
When he reflects on his time with the Sun, Pommier says the highlight of his career was making the lifelong friendships with the players he played with. On the field it was his final game in the orange and brown; the 2010 BC Conference final at the Apple Bowl. Thou the game ended in a heartbreaking loss (16-14) to the VI Raiders, it’s an experience Pommier will never forget.
Over the course of his four years, Pommier had many teammates but there were a few that stood out “I'd have to say the Beaton brothers (Danny and Daryl) Alex Law (Tommy Gun) Stephen Rutter (for knocking a guys helmet 10 feet off in the air) Cole Shade and Batgoof to name a few guys I will never forget playing with.”
His time with the Sun was four of the best years of his life, but would he do it all over again? The hours of practice, the time spent watching film, traveling on the bus, rehabbing through injuries? In a word, Pommier says “Absolutely.”
What advice does he have for new Sun defensive backs? “Have a memory of a goldfish, don't get beat deep and watch film.”
Pommier says playing with the Sun in the CJFL taught him many valuable lessons. “Junior football made me work collectively with a bunch of different guys for a common goal. It teaches young people how to tolerate and respect other humans even if you don't agree or even like them which is a great skill to have in life. I also came out of junior ball with some lifelong connections. I still consider some of the most important people in my life the ones I shared the battlefield with.”
Daylon Pommier is a proud Okanagan Sun alumni.
Photo courtesy of Tamiko Lyle
At the Canadian Bowl Banquet of Champions, long time Sun coach/board member/President Les Weiss was named a Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) Life Member.
The award is handed to a volunteer, either at the team or league level. A CJFL life member has exhibited a long term commitment to the success of our league
The 2016 CJFL life member first became involved with our league as a running back in the 1971 and 1972 seasons with the Edmonton Huskies and then the Vancouver Meralomas.
But it was 31 years ago when Les Weiss moved his young family to Kelowna in 1985 that the Okanagan Sun gained a critical volunteer who would prove to be a cornerstone of the organization.
He served as running backs coach from 1985 through 1990 before joining the board of directors in 1991, a role he still is in today. He was the club’s general manager from 1991 through 2003 and has reluctantly filled the role as President as well.
If you ask any players of the last 31 years who Les Weiss is, they will know…because they have seen this man perform literally every task, big and small. More than one has probably seen him unclog (while griping about it) a toilet in the clubhouse. Sounds funny, and it is but it still tells you something about Les and his willingness to step in no matter the job.
As Sun GM Jay Christensen will tell you;
“Les is one of the main reasons the Okanagan Sun have been so successful for so long. He is the passion behind the football team. He has had his hand and his vision in virtually every aspect of the team, driving it from an organizational point of view. He makes sure that every single player who ever puts on an Okanagan Sun helmet is treated with as much class and respect as possible.”
As a successful business man in the city, Les has been involved in fundraising for the team at every level, from yearbook advertising to major corporate partnerships. He is directly responsible for bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars of to fund the Sun program.
Les has long held the belief that junior football players should have the opportunity to continue their education while playing the sport. 7 years ago, he founded the Okanagan Sun scholarship fund and built from the ground up the concept of an annual fundraising event, which took the form of a breakfast that year. He has continued in this role ever since and through his business acumen has evolved the annual event to a dinner or wine fest fundraiser to ensure its success. Along with the assistance of the scholarship fund partner, JDS Energy & Mining, Okanagan Sun players have received over $160,000 in scholarships the past 7 seasons.
Congratulations to our very deserving Canadian Junior Football League life member, Mr. Les Weiss.
Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
Former Sun quarterback Josiah Joseph and his University of Calgary Dinos are preparing to face Laval in the 2016 Vanier Cup in Hamilton on Saturday.
Joseph talks with Ryan Watters about his role with the Dinos and their preparation for the National Championship game.
Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
A pair of Okanagan Sun defensive players have been named 2016 Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) All-Canadian.
Team MVP Layne Hull was a true leader on and off the field this season, collecting 30 tackles, 10 assisted tackles, 3 sacks, 3 knockdowns, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and 1 interception.
He was named the BC Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Either Hull or Calgary Colts linebacker Colton Burr will be named the CJFL Defensive Player of the Year on Friday at the Canadian Bowl Banquet of Champions.
Jonas Gering had an outstanding final season in a Sun uniform. He collected 25 tackles, 6 assisted tackles, 4.5 sacks and 1 knockdown.
This is the second straight year Gering has been named an All-Canadian. The RSS product will be missed following four amazing seasons on the defensive line.
Thursday the CJFL Offensive All-Canadians will be announced, following by the Outstanding Players on Friday. The Canadian Bowl will feature the Westshore Rebels hosting the Saskatoon Hilltops on Saturday afternoon.
Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
In his final junior football game Lord gave the Sun opportunities with great field position in the Cullen Cup, but the offence wasn’t able to take advantage. His four kick-off returns gathered 90 yards as he averaged 22.5 yards each time.
Saturday afternoon, the BC Conference handed out their yearly awards, celebrating the 2016 football season on and off the field. Among the awards presented, the Conference was honored to recognize Royce and Merle Hetherington as the recipients of the 2016 Ken Smith Executive of the Year Award.
Volunteers are extremely hard to find, and good ones are even more of a rare breed. In the case of Royce and Merle, they are in a very special group. Starting with the Okanagan Sun in 1988, both Royce and Merle have been fixtures with the Sun in many different capacities, taking on challenge after challenge that always goes along with running a Junior football team. All along, Royce and Merle have continued to give back to so many, and make their experience with the Sun something truly special. Former Head Coach, and current General Manager of the Sun Jay Christensen couldn’t say enough great things about both Royce and Merle. “As a coach or GM or board member, having people like Royce and Merle with the team is invaluable. They have done so much to make the Sun a first class organization over the years. They have constantly stepped up for the right reasons, and their hearts are always in the right place. Our players have always been the focus for Royce and Merle, and they have looked out for many players over the years,” Christensen explained.
Over the many years of involvement, there isn’t much the dynamic duo hasn’t done with the Sun. Royce served as club President from 1990-1992, and they have assisted with the team billeting program, as well as the very successful Sun scholarship event. They have also handled the registration of Sun players for many years, a task that requires care and attention, and one that Royce and Merle have excelled at. It is easy to see that both Royce and Merle have made people around them better, yet another trait the two of them share. "Royce was the Sun registrar long before I took on the job as BCFC Registrar," noted the current Conference Registrar Judith Tucker. "Royce has been an invaluable source of information for me, and I could always count on him to be on top of things. Royce and Merle are dedicated to the well being of the players, and the Sun are lucky to have two such wonderful people in their organization," Tucker noted.
There is no question that a Junior football team has many facets in order to be successful both on and off the field, and having people who can take any and all of them on is critical. "It is difficult to think of a part of this organization that Royce and Merle have not touched in some way," Sun President Bill Long explained. "Their willingness to help, their sincere affection for the players, and the fact they are possibly two of the nicest people you will ever meet make them priceless. We are truly fortunate to have them with us," said Long.
They have seen many players, coaches, directors and other volunteers come and go over the years, and through all the change, Royce and Merle have remained constants with the Okanagan Sun. It is clear they love the organization and the game of football. There they were on Saturday afternoon, dressed in Sun gear and making the long trek from Kelowna to the Island in late October, cheering on the Sun. Where else would they want to be!
Too little too late for the Okanagan Sun on Saturday falling 32-21 in the Cullen Cup to the Westshore Rebels.
After falling behind 32-0 in the third quarter, the Sun started to show some life. Keith Zyla took over at quarterback and punched in from a yard out to get on the board. He then threw a touchdown pass to Sharmar Donelson on the last play of the third quarter.
Kyler Mosley scored the final touchdown for the Sun with a three yard run with just under 10 minutes to play in the game.
However eight turnovers by the Sun helped the Rebels and their field position. They would tally 323 yards on the ground as Jamel Lyles rushed 23 times for 161 yards and had a touchdown.
Quarterback Ashton MacKinnon was named Offensive Player of the Game finishing 9 of 17 for 173 yards and threw three touchdowns. He was also outstanding running the ball. MacKinnon threw majors to Tyvon Blake, Birhanu Yitna and Trey Campbell.
Pierre-Luc Lord was named the Special Teams Player of the Game.
The Rebels will now host their first Canadian Bowl on Saturday November 12 against either the Saskatoon Hilltops or Calgary Colts.
For the fifth time in CJFL history the Sun meet the Rebels in the Canadian Bowl BC Conference Cullen Cup on Saturday afternoon. It’s the first time in history that the Rebels host this title game.
Head to Head
Record: Sun 7-3, Rebels 8-1-1
Points For: Sun 288 – Rebels 371* - Playoffs – Sun 26 – Rebels 34
Points Against: Sun 219 – Rebels 268 – Playoffs – Sun 23 – Rebels 29
Passing Leaders: Foster Martens – 97 of 155 for 1375 yards, 7 touchdowns, 6 interceptions (Sun) – Ashton MacKinnon – 65 of 122 for 1218 yards, 10 touchdowns, 6 interceptions (Rebels)
Rushing Leaders: Keith Zyla - 31 carries for 235 yards and 4 touchdowns (Sun) – Jamel Lyles – 187 carries* for 1604 yards* and 15 touchdowns* (Rebels)
Receiving Leaders: Lliam Wishart – 39 receptions for 548 yards and 5 touchdowns (Sun) – Nathaniel Pinto – 20 receptions for 610 yards and 7 touchdowns (Rebels)
Field Goals: Kealey Heintz – 11 of 19, 58% (Sun) – Kyle Clarke – 7 of 7, 100% (Rebels)
Leading Tackers: Eli Haynes – 31 tackles (Sun) – Brody Uddenberg – 34 tackles (Rebels)
Turnovers: Sun – 9 interceptions, 11 fumbles lost, 14 turnover on downs (+2) – Rebels – 9 interceptions, 15 fumbles lost, 5 turnover on downs (+4)
Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
This Saturday the Okanagan Sun will be in Westshore to take on the Rebels in the Canadian Bowl BC Conference Cullen Cup game. It’s the fifth time in club history that the Sun have faced the Rebels in title game, winning three of the previous four match-ups.
Head Coach Ben Macauley talks with Ryan Watters about the big game.
For the fifth time in team history the Sun will face the Westshore Rebels in the BC Conference Cullen Cup Championship game.
The four previous match-ups have all been at the Apple Bowl (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004) with the Sun owning a 3-1 record. The only Sun set back was in 2003, when the Rebels won 20-0. That said the Sun have outscored the Rebels in this championship game 88-75.
The first meeting back in 2000 was an overtime game, only the second overtime Cullen Cup ever. The Sun claimed a 43-38 victory.
Saturday night’s game marks the first time the Rebels have ever hosted the BC Conference title game and the community of Westshore is ready to be loud. The last time the Rebels played in the Cullen Cup was in 2004, when the Sun beat them 24-15 at the Apple Bowl.
History however is not on the side of the Sun as the road team in the Cullen Cup. They beenthe visitor 10 times and have just two wins to show for it. In 1983 they went into Richmond and beat the Raiders 27-11, then in 1991 visited Surrey and beat the Rams 17-11.
In the greater picture the Sun have owned the Rebels in the playoffs meeting 11 times and winning 10 times. Oddly enough in the 11 meetings the Rebels have gone through an identity shift known as three different names, and Saturday night will make it a fourth. In the early 90’s the Rebels were called the Victoria Payless, then the Vancouver Island Sharks in the mid-90s, before changing again to the Victoria Rebels.
In the 11 post season meetings, the Sun have never been a visitor in Westshore. The last time these two met in the playoffs was a semi-final in 2010 which the Sun won 30-20.
Saturday’s Cullen Cup will be entertaining and should be a very tight match-up. During the regular season each team won at home by six points.
Kick-off at Westhills Stadium is set for 4:00pm PST. Ryan Watters will have the play by play call on AM 1150 starting with the Kick Off Show at 3:30pm.
Cullen Cup history - Sun vs. Rebels:
2000 – @ Kelowna – Sun 43 – Rebels 38
2002 – @ Kelowna – Sun 21 –Rebels 2
2003 – @ Kelowna – Rebels 20 – Sun 0
2004 – @ Kelowna – Sun 24 – Rebels 15
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