Vernon Yellow Jackets chasing Pee Wee crown

Bryce Welz of the Kamloops Wildcats tackles Vernon Yellow Jackets
Bryce Welz of the Kamloops Wildcats tackles Vernon Yellow Jackets' Thomas Satterthwaite in Pee Wee football playoff action at Grahame Park on Sunday.
— image credit: Stephanie Dryhurst/Morning Star

The Vernon Yellow Jackets will face the Kelowna Lions for the Southern Interior Pee Wee Football Conference championship Sunday at the Mission Sports Centre.

The regular-season winning Yellow Jackets stopped the Kamloops Wildcats 37-0 in Sunday’s playoff semifinal at Grahame Park.

The Jackets’ defence was outstanding, highlighted by a 64-yard interception return for a touchdown by  Kaden Doughty late in the third quarter.

“Liam Alder played another great game for us on defence with a handful of tackles and an interception,” said head coach Bryan Cragg, assisted by Terry Winstanley and Jeff Anderson.

“The defence has been a rock for us all season and everyone plays as a team out there; it’s hard to say sometimes who made the tackle as they just flow to the ball and, by the end of it, pretty much the whole defence is on top of them.”

Trey Winstanley, Matthew Reich and Isaiah Ondrik each recorded eight tackles. Devin Hofsink (six tackles) and Tristen Baker (four solo tackles) also starred.

The Vernon offence was led by quarterback Ethan Anderson, who threw for 100-plus yards. His No. 1 target was Matthew Hansen with 35 yards receiving, followed by Liam Glennon, with 20. Glennon also added three converts.

The Yellow Jackets also used a stellar running game, with Bryce Tkachuk and Riley MacGillivray each supplying two touchdowns and Doughty had one. The offensive line had a fabulous showing, led by Logan Quibell, Connor Dewhurst and Brady Szeman.

“That O-line made big holes for the running backs and allowed the quarterback time to throw the ball. They really have come together as a team out there,” said Cragg.

The third-place Vernon Marauders bowed 60-20 to the second-place West Kelowna Sun Devils in the Junior Bantam semifinal Sunday in Kelowna.

Tyler (Ducky) Sova, Zack Rogers and Connor Manahan all scored a TD for the Marauders, who got one convert from Sebastian Sanchez.

“I am incredibly proud of the way our kids played hard right to the last whistle,” said QB coach Ed Huber, noting the solid blocking of Kaiden Parton, Tyler Riva, Teylor Munger, Clayton Hamming and Kieran Webster.

Defensive co-ordinator Andy Stefansson was equally pleased with the effort displayed by his defence, especially Tyler Braun, Morgan Nichols, Koalden Oakden, Miles Forrest and Isaac Olsen.

“It was a good season,” said head coach Ron Kirschner. “All of our players improved in life skills such as goal setting and their understanding of the game of football.”

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