Kicker, fourth quarter surge help Langley Rams eclipse visiting Sun

Langley Rams kicker Steve Thomas gave the visiting Okanagan Sun the boot on a warm and muggy Saturday night at McLeod Stadium.

Thomas kicked four field goals and accounted for 15 of the junior Rams’ point totals as the hosts battled to a 33-20 victory.

Trailing 18-16 going into the fourth quarter, the Rams racked up 17 points during the final stanza while holding the Sun to a measly two points to secure the win.

Two of the Rams’ three touchdowns on the day came in the fourth quarter, with Langley quarterback Dylan Tucker connecting with receiver Tore Corrado for a 61-yard major, and

Tucker tucking the ball under his arm and running it over the goal-line from three yards out.

Rams head coach Jeff Alamolhoda was impressed with his players’ stick-to-itiveness, facing a perennial B.C. Football Conference powerhouse.

“They continued to fight and persevered when faced with adversity,” Alamolhoda said. “It was awesome. They really fought as a team, and that was the reason why they won. They bonded together and did it as a collective effort.”

The win improved the Rams record to 2-0 very early in the season.

Wins over a pair of BCFC heavyweights right out of the gate (Langley opened the season on July 26 by out-scoring the defending B.C. champion Vancouver Island Raiders 44-36) will give the Rams confidence going into the bye week, but they know they still have work to do.

“This shows them what they’re capable of doing when they execute,” Alamolhoda said.

Leading the way was Thomas, who was a perfect when it came to booting field goals, connecting on attempts from 44, 33, 22, and 14 yards away.

In what was an otherwise defensive tug-of-war, the Rams other touchdown came from receiver Daniel English, who hooked up with Tucker for a 31-yard play during the second quarter.

Tucker, the Rams’ first-year quarterback, had a decent day, completing 16 of his 24 pass attempts for 252 yards and two touchdowns. He was also picked off twice.

He also ran the ball three times for 20 yards.

The Rams completely shut down the Sun’s air attack, holding quarterbacks Cam Bedore (34 yards) and Josiah Joseph (42 yards) to fewer than 80 yards passing.

The Sun’s top weapon was running back Dillon Fortune, who had 13 carries for 80 yards, while scoring Okanagan’s lone touchdown of the day on a five-yard scamper in the third quarter.

Sun kicker Hunter Verhulst was just as effective as his Rams’ counterpart, making good on all three of his field goal attempts from 41, 34, and 13 yards away.

Langley trailed 8-0 after the first quarter before jumping ahead 13-11 before the half.

In the second half, the Rams fell behind 18-16 after three quarters of play, but Langley’s aforementioned late surge proved to be the difference.

Alamolhoda said the Rams made some defensive adjustments going into the game, but the Sun threw a couple of wrinkles into their offensive schemes, which forced Langley to make some changes on the fly.

“Kudos to them,” Alamolhoda said. “They showed us some different [offensive looks] than what we expected and got some points early, but kudos to our defensive coordinator for making some defensive adjustments on the fly and shutting down their running game. Our defence continued to fight, never got down, and didn’t point fingers at each other.”

The Sun, who defeated the Valley Huskers 41-7 on July 26 to open their season, saw their record fall to 1-1 with the loss.

The Rams get a bye next week, and return to game action in week four of the BCFC season. Next Saturday, Aug. 16, the Langley juniors travel to Westhills Stadium in Kamloops to play the Broncos.

Alamolhoda said, “For us, facing the two top teams in BCFC right out of the gate… they were physical games, high intensive games, and we’ll take the bye week to get our bumps and bruises healed up so we’ll be ready to go.”

 

GRIDIRON NOTES: For his fine game against the Sun, Thomas was among those named by the BCFC as “BC Lions Players of the Week” for Week 2 of the regular season.

Along with his four field goals, he also connected on all three converts.  Thomas’s punting had pinpoint placement, pinning the Sun deep in their own end, or up against sidelines  He booted five punts, for a net of 125 yards.

 

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