Here comes the sun

Okanagan Sun quarterbacks Ethan Newman, left and Alex Douglas, right, are pictured during practice, this week at Parkinson Rec Centre.

You won’t catch Ethan Newman or Alex Douglas slagging each other in hopes of snagging more playing time this football season.

Heck, if they did that, how would they get to practice?

“Oh, we’re close,” Douglas said at Okanagan Sun practice this week. “We’re car-pooling all the time, hanging out, going through film and our plays together. We’re close.”

They’re comparable on the field, too.

The quarterbacks split time during Saturday’s 26-3 victory over the Kamloops Broncos in Week 1.

Douglas was 9-for-17 for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Newman was 7-for-10 for 127 yards. Douglas added 22 yards on four carries.

Sun head coach Jamie Boreham said he’s happy with the job sharing, and the players say they’re OK with it, too.

Douglas was in a similar situation at Eerie College in Buffalo, N.Y., two seasons ago.

“I see it as motivation,” he said. “Whoever’s got the hot hand is up. I like it. It keeps me and Newman pushing each other, working harder every day.”

Their styles are similar enough that letting one QB take the reins shouldn’t change the play calling or team dynamics much.

They’re also newcomers to Kelowna. Even though Douglas is from southern Ontario, he’s from the Cambridge-Guelph area, arguably Ontario’s agricultural heartland. Newman calls Saskatoon home, the capital of Canada’s breadbasket.

Newman came to the Sun after serving as Saskatoon Hilltops backup while Douglas spent time in junior college, and they’re both learning the B.C. Football Conference and Sun style for the first time this summer.

There are some obvious differences, however. Newman admits he enjoys using his feet more and he throws left-handed.

“I like to run around more,” he said, smiling.

Douglas is taller at six-foot-three and 170 pounds-lanky and elusive.

“I think we’re similar. I think Newman, when he gets out of the pocket he kind of likes to run the ball more,” said Douglas. “When I get out of the pocket, I don’t necessarily like to run first. I’m still trying to throw the ball down the field.”

Newman is about three inches shorter, but his 185-pound frame is sturdy. The kid’s solid.

Sharing the signal calling hasn’t slowed either of them down, Newman said.

“I love it,” Newman said. “I’m sure he thinks the same way. We come out here every day and compete and support each other and push each other every day. I think it’s better for us that way. It pushes us to be better quarterbacks.”

They’ll likely head into Week 2’s match-up in Chilliwack against the Huskers in a similar situation, Boreham said.

“They both did things well in the last game,” Boreham said.

That’s not to say the job isn’t someone’s for the keeping.

“If one of them comes out on fire, it’s tough to take them out,” the coach added.

They’ll both look to clean up mistakes on Saturday and build on the Kamloops victory. Newman said the Sun needs to stay out of penalty trouble against the Huskers.

The refs flagged Okanagan 20 times for 185 yards.

“It’s the first game of the year, so there are always places to improve on. We just got to keep working. It’s only Week 1. We’ve got the whole season ahead of us.”

Playing Kamloops is also difficult to gauge. The Broncos underwent numerous personnel changes after going 0-10 last season.

Douglas said the Sun was maybe over-confident after staking a 14-0 lead at halftime.

“I feel like we were just satisfied. We were up and we were satisfied with it. We can’t have that. We’ve got to learn how to stomp on someone’s throat and keep them down.”

What has both of them confident, however, was the effort level.

Newman said he was impressed by what he saw.

“A lot of hard work, honestly,” Newman said. “The guys were really hungry for a win and ready to fight.”

Douglas said he was impressed most by the unity in the Sun dressing room.

“The atmosphere. All the guys seem to all know what we want to do, and reach a common goal. There’s no individuals. It’s a team.”

SUN SPOTS — Newman is a Holy Cross graduate. In his Grade 12 season, the Crusaders claimed their fifth consecutive high school championship. ... Douglas said the Sun was the one and only team he wanted to play for this year. “I love it here. I’m not going back to Ontario,” he said. ... The Huskers lost 21-20 to the Westshore Rebels in Week 1. Receiver Brandon Poulin was Valley’s star, catching 10 passes for 115 yards and a TD. ... Westshore put up 256 yards in total offence compared to 153 for the Huskers, who actually led the game 20-7 after three quarters. ... Langley Rams WR Khalik Johnson (3 receptions, 122 yards, 3 TDs), Huskers DB Desmond Jeanson (4 tackles, 2 interceptions) and Huskers K Ethan Homan (2-for-2 on field goals, 38.5 yard punting average) were CJFL players of the week.



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