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Voodoos, Owls spring into football action; Kelowna Cup finales; A's win three of four

<who>Photo Credit/Cover Design: Lorne White/KelownaNow</who>

Following two weeks of spring camp and with a perennial burst of optimism, the Rutland Voodoos played host to the Kelowna Owls in controlled football scrimmages on home field recently.

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And while both schools boasted increased numbers of players at the senior and junior levels during their camps, the focus was on establishing the type of teams they want to be.

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow</who>Taylor Trush of the Rutland Voodoos stops the Kelowna Owls' Nathan Tonogai in his tracks and springs the ball loose at the same time during the teams' spring scrimmage at Rutland Secondary School.“We had a great spring camp,” said longtime Rutland head coach, Pete McCall. “We’re still cultivating our junior varsity program now that we have Grade 9 athletes in the school. We still need a few more, but we have some bright stars coming up.”

Chris Cartwright, in his second season as head coach with the Owls, said his players and coaches “learned a lot about how they needed to approach preparation for the coming season.

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow</who>Lucus Spencer of the Kelowna Owls finds a hole on the way to a touchdown early in the KSS/RSS controlled scrimmage.“This off-season we focused on establishing our culture,” he noted. “The jamboree gave us a chance to see how our systems are working and if we need to make any changes going into the fall.”

It didn’t take long for McCall and his coaches to find out their team’s strengths going into the B.C. Secondary Schools Football Association’s AAA division season.

“I don't think it will shock too many to say we are going to run the ball at Rutland this year,” said McCall, who established the RSS football program and beginning his 14th year as head coach. “We have some great running backs in our stable. Brayden Anderson, Matt Klak, Kyle Downer, Chase Schumacher and Jhavoun Blake will carry the load and no doubt will be major factors in our success.”

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow</who>The Owls' Zander Torres stretches out to grab the Voodoos' Brayden Anderson from behind.Paving the way along the ground will be offensive line returnees Beak Akachuk, Connor Douglas, Caleb Aitken, Jared Pimiskern and Ryan Schuster.

With 39 senior players in spring camp, Cartwright believes his options have increased in all areas of the lineup for the coming season while he’s especially upbeat about his revamped coaching staff that brings plenty of experience at the high school, university and professional level.

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow</who>Jhavoun Blake of the Voodoos put the lock on Kelowna Owls' Marcus Athans.“It’s a really exciting time for the KSS football program and we’re looking forward to giving our players the opportunity to play against some of the most talented teams in the province,”

Cartwright sees the future of the program being strengthened considerably by the addition of longtime Kelowna Minor Football Association coach, Kendall Gross, now the JV head coach.

“Kendall brings a lot of experience, having worked with young athletes at different levels. We’re excited to have him help establish the consistency and culture we’re trying to create.”

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The Owls will resume workouts later this summer and will have the South Delta team coming to Kelowna for joint practices. The senior team will travel to Mt. Baker, Wash. for an exhibition game while the JVs will be in New Westminster to play the Hyacks to kick off pre-season play.

U18s play for Kelowna Cup in final COYSA matches

First-place finishers in the Central Okanagan Youth Soccer Association’s regular season, the Kelowna Rampage added a U18 Kelowna Cup title to their resume at the Apple Bowl recently.

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<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>The Kelowna Rampage celebrate their Kelowna Cup victory at the Apple Bowl after defeating the Kelowna Venom 3-0 in the championship game. Members of the team are, from left, front: Ben Meyers, Braden Wong, Tyson Senger, Devon Garcha, Liam Duckworth and Devon Coughlan. Back: Ethan Maja, Thomas DeWitt, Scott Freeman, Grayson McMillan, Jordon Comeau, Michael McCready, Tyrell Farrell, Luke Almasi, Justin Neuls, Edmund Nilson and Brad Farrell (coach). Missing: Craig McMillan (coach), Max Atkins and Connor Trimble. A 3-0 victory in the Cup final over Kelowna Youth Soccer Association-rival Venom climaxed the Rampage’s soccer career in COYSA.

Coming off a win over fourth-place Okanagan Mission Alpha Dental Strikers in semifinal play earlier in the day, the Rampage scored twice in the first half en route to the championship victory against the third-place Venom in the final.

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow</who>Jordon Comeau, right, of the Kelowna Rampage intercepts a pass intended for Okanagan Mission's Mackenzie BakalaA well-timed pass by Liam Duckworth set up Grayson McMillan — the league’s leading scorer during the regular season — who went wide on Venom goalie Keaston Swaby and fired a sharp-angled shot to the far side of the net.

The Rampage kept up the pressure, with McMillan again getting into the act by crossing into the box and having Tyrell Farrell head it in for an insurance marker.

In the second half, Swaby and shutout goalkeeper, Michael McCreedy, were forced to come up with outstanding saves as both teams revved up offensively. Only Scott Freeman of the Rampage was able to capitalize on his scoring chance, beating a Venom defender and slotting the ball into the net on a breakaway.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>The Rutland A & W Flames edged the Westside United in the championship game to capture the COYSA U18 girls soccer title recently. Members of the winning team, coached by Lee Ewan and Bruce Corrie, are Alex Valcourt, Morgan Ewen ,Georgina Mooney, Jasmine Koutsantonis, Alexa Steele, Hayley Brown, Meghan Hobson, Madeleine Ruse. Breann Pearson, Madison Miles, Danielle Blacklaws, Josie Stutters, Sarah Bingham, Zoe Bown, Sydney Hillier, Carley Lowen, Courtney Blacklaws and Vikki Lowe. “It was an exciting way to close out the season and the boys’ final year in COYSA,” said Rampage coach Brad Farrell, who indicated he’ll try to form a Rampage-dominated team for the Kelowna Men’s Soccer League next season. “It was great to be able to play at the Apple Bowl in an all-Kelowna final against a team with which we had a great rivalry during the regular season. In a game late in the season, we had come back from a three-goal deficit to win 5-4.”

The Rampage had defeated Okanagan Mission 3-2 in their semifinal, with Braden Wong, Duckworth and McMillan scoring the goals for the winners. Mackenzie Bakala and Chris Foerderer replied for Mission.

The Venom reached the final by defeating the second-place Lake Country LeSage Smart Homes Smash Boys 4-2 in a semifinal shootout. Venom goalscorers were Nichols Banmen, Seth Barton, Gavin Saini and Hayden Fabris.

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow</who>Vikki Lowe and Alex Valcourt of the Rutland Flames celebrate a goal in their semifinal win over Okanagan Mission.Meanwhile, the U18 girls Kelowna Cup championship went to the Rutland Youth Soccer Association’s A & W Flames.

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The Flames, first-place finishers in the regular season, edged the defending-champion Westside Youth Soccer Association United 3-2 in the final at the Apple Bowl after they had outscored the Okanagan Mission Tutt Street Optometry Storm 3-1 in semifinal play earlier in the day.

Westside earned its berth in the final with a 6-1 win over the Lake Country Sweet Legs Impact.

Premier Athletics on track to make midget baseball playoffs

The Okanagan Athletics continued their winning ways in the B.C. Premier (Midget) Baseball League, but are still in a dogfight for a playoff spot going into the final two weeks of the regular season.

Three wins in four games over the host White Rock Tritons improved the Kelowna-based team’s record to 15-23 on the season (7-3 in their past 10 games) and kept them the final playoff spot (eighth place). However, the Athletics are just a half game ahead of ninth-place Coquitlam Reds and 1 1/2 games up on the Victoria Eagles.

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow</who>Colton Schaper-Kotter had two hits in A's final win on the <br>weekend in Delta.Although outhit by the Tritons, the A’s took advantage of six walks and three White Rock errors to post an 8-2 victory in their final game of the four-game weekend set on Sunday.

Three players — Colton Schaper-Kotter, Marcus Strother and Jaden Parsons — combined for the lion’s share of the A’s hitting in the finale, each collecting two hits. Schaper-Kotter and Strother both smacked doubles, while Brayden Beacom rounded out the Okanagan hitting with a run-scoring single.

Carter Morris went the distance (seven innings) to record his fourth win of the season. The Vernon product scattered eight hits, walked two and struck out one against the seventh-place Tritons, who dropped to 19-17, five games up on the A’s.

The Athletics opened the weekend by shutting out White Rock 6-0 on Saturday on the strength of another solid outing by pitcher Keaton Mandryk of Kelowna, who also recorded his fourth win of the season.

The righthander limited the Tritons to six hits and struck out nine while giving up only two walks over his seven innings of work. His teammates combined for 10 hits, two each by Dylan Faulkner and Schaper-Kotter. They also took advantage of four White Rock errors.

A second game on Saturday saw the A’s scrape together just five hits, but they jumped on three White Rock errors for three unearned runs on the way to a 4-3 victory.

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow</who>Jackson Borne was a leader both offensively and defensively during the weekend in Delta.Luigi Russo of Kelowna led the Okanagan offence with a pair of hits while Parsons scored twice and hit a double as the A’s scored two runs in the third inning and added a run in both the fourth and fifth.

Kelowna’s Jackson Borne pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed one earned run while striking out four for his fourth win of the season.

In their lone loss of the weekend, the A’s let a three-run lead get away as the Tritons scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 7-6 win.

Borne was the leader at the plate in a losing cause, connecting for three hits (including a double), scoring two runs and driving in one. Adam Sarafinchan also doubled and contributed a pair of hits while scoring once and adding a run-batted-in.

The A’s have six games in which to hold on to at least the eighth and final BCPBL playoff spot. The first two games are in Delta on Saturday against the host Blue Jays who sit in 11th place with a 9-25 record. The Athletics close out the regular season with four games at home July 8 and 9 against the ninth-place Coquitlam Reds (11-20).

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