Photo: Post: CJFL-TV
UPDATE: 2:50 p.m
The dry spell 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 prairie, earning an exciting 21-19 win over Regina Thunder in the Canadian Bowl at frigid Mosaic Field in Regina.
The Sun trailed 0-15 at one point in the second quarter and 15-7 at halftime before roaring back with two touchdowns in the third quarter to take a lead they would never give up.
But the turning point in the game came late in the first half. Quarterback Dominic Britton was 15-0 down and was struggling to move the ball against a strong Thunder defense. He marched the team 75 yards in under two minutes in 10 games to put the sun on the board.
The drive was interrupted by 15- and 20-yard connections with receiver Mike O’Shea and a pass interference call that put the ball on the Regina nine.
At four yards and the clock reading zero, Britton ran into Colby Miletto at five yards to breathe some life into the sun.
You ride that swing after the break.
After conceding a safety, offensive player of the game Jevan Garwood interrupted his biggest run of the day and sprinted belly-up for a 53-yard touchdown to reduce the deficit to three.
Then the defense took over. On Regina’s next possession in second and ninth place, Dawson Puk put on the most defensive play of the game, intercepting a pass from Carter Shewchuk at Regina 49.
He returned the ball to the 32, giving Britton a short field to work with.
Three games later, in third and second place, Britton O’Shea hit from 24 yards. Liam Attwood’s extra point put the Sun 21-17 in the quarter with just three minutes remaining.
They had a chance to extend the lead to a converted touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but an O’Shea failed to handle the snap on a 34-yard field goal attempt to return the ball to the Thunder by four.
The Sun defense, surrendering two touchdowns in the second quarter, came out big on the stretch, bending but refusing to break.
They held the Rams deep in their third-place finish three times in the fourth quarter. They held on to third and eighth with 13 while holding a four-point lead. After conceding a safety with 35 seconds left, they kept the Rams in third and fourth at their 44 with just seconds left and the Thunder trying to get within range for a game-winning field goal attempt.
Britton started slow, hitting just two of his ten passes for 21 yards in the first quarter before solidifying in 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 winning touchdown.
O’Shea was busy, catching five passes for 70 yards and the game-winning touchdown. He also had several big games in the second leg, earning the honor of being the game’s special team player.
Puk was named the game’s best defensive player.
Saturday’s win marked the third national title for the franchise, which won its first 32 years to the day on November 12, 1988, a 50-0 win over the Burlington Junior Tiger Cats.
Their last national championship was a 38-26 triumph over the Saskatoon Hilltops at the Apple Bowl in 2000.
UPDATE 1:50 p.m
The Okanagan Sun has captured the third Canadian Bowl in franchise history.
Exactly 34 years to the day after winning their first title in 1988, the Sun went to Regina and beat the Thunder 21-19.
The Sun defense, flexing but not breaking all day, tucked the Rams into third and fourth by 44 seconds to retain the two-point win.
More details shortly.
UPDATE: 1:10 p.m
The Okanagan Sun stormed back from a 15-0 deficit to take a 21-17 lead over the Regina Thunder after three quarters at the Canadian Bowl in Regina.
The Sun conceded a safety early in the third quarter to fall 17-7 behind before the offense came to life.
Jevan Garwood ran 52 straight yards at center to reduce the deficit to 17-14.
After an interception by Dawson Puk on Regina’s next possession, Dominic Britton found Mike O’Shea from 24 yards out third and second to give Sun their first lead of the game.
UPDATE: 12:30 p.m
The Regina Thunder lead the Okanagan Sun 15-7 at halftime in the Canadian Bowl in Regina.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Thunder drew the first blood on their first drive of the second quarter.
Regina capped a 69-yard drive with a two-yard run from Ryland Tragert.
The Thunder got the ball back deep in Sun territory moments later when a third down snap jumped in front of punter Isaac Wegner. At the Sun 21, he fell on the ball.
Five plays and a pass interference call later, Thunder quarterback Carter Shewchuk ran six yards to give the hosts a 14-0 lead.
The sun couldn’t move the ball until her final drive.
Quarterback Dominic Britton started at 35 after a Thunder single with less than two minutes left at halftime and marched the team 70 yards in 10 games to get on the board.
Britton connected with receiver Mike O’Shea on 15- and 20-yard passes, then topped it off with a five-yard throw to Colby Miletto in the last game of the half.
The Thunder receive the kickoff to open the second half.
UPDATE: 11:40 a.m
The Okanagan Sun and Regina Thunder are scoreless after a Canadian Bowl quarter in Regina.
Both teams have tried to lead the football with some success.
Sun running back Jevan Garwood has 40 yards on the loop in the first half.
The Sun was able to move the football into Thunder territory but stopped at 30 and had to punt.
Quarterback Dom Britton completed only two out of 10 passes.
The Okanagan Sun are hoping to turn back the clock to their dominant glory days of the late 1980s and ’90s.
The Sun will look to repeat the success of the 1988 and 2000 teams when they won the only national title in franchise history.
The 2022 team appears to be just as dominant as these teams, balanced on offense, defense, and special teams.
In her own way, the equally dominant Regina Thunder rolled through the Prairie Conference, winning all eight regular season games and two more in the playoffs to earn the right to host tonight’s Canadian Bowl against a Sun team that went 13 times in Episode was unbeaten, including the national team semifinals two weeks ago in Windsor, Ontario.
“We’ve had a lot of time to get used to what they’re doing,” Sun head coach Travis Miller said of today’s opponent during a cold-weather practice earlier this week.
“We watched all 10 games and had the opportunity to see their tendencies.
“Of course we will make adjustments to that, but we will focus more on ourselves. We’ve honed who we are and what we do, making sure we’re as prepared as possible.”
That means a lot of film work and a lot of field work.
On film, Miller says the Thunder appear to be the best team they’ve faced all season, strong offense and defense, strong front fours and a consistent offense.
“I don’t think we’ve played against a defense outside of our own that’s as strong as them. Your front seven is pretty good.”
“It’s been a long time coming,” added safety veteran Garrett Cape.
“We’ve been working on this for a couple of years now. A lot of the guys are nearing the end of their careers here so it’s nice to finally get to where we want to be.”
Everyone is focused on the task at hand, receiver Noah Bymak said.
Oh, and it’s getting cold in Regina. The latest forecast calls for temperatures of -15C with a wind chill of -24C at game time.
Kick-off is Saturday at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.
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