Vernon Panthers defender Perez Vermeulen (10) eyes up Cochrane Cobras running back Ryan Kaczmer in inter-provincial exhibition high school senior boys varsity football action Thursday at VSS. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

Cobras hold back Panthers

The Cochrane Cobras of Alberta stopped the Vernon Panthers 28-24 in senior varsity football Thursday

It took a bobbled pass in the back of the end zone on the final play of the game to decide the winner in an entertaining back and forth senior varsity high school game Thursday at Panther Field.

When the ball finally hit the ground and the whistle blew, the Cochrane Cobras of Alberta with a 28-24 entertaining win over the Vernon Panthers.

Vernon converted on their first drive when Brad Hladik (4 receptions for 135yds – 1 TD) shed an initial tackle at the line of scrimmage and took the bubble screen 56 yards. Cochrane quickly replied on a a 20-yard go route.

The Cats then drove the length of the field and re-took the lead minutes later when tailback Charles Lemay plunged in from three yards. However, the Panthers couldn’t capitalize when Perez Vermeulen intercepted a pass which allowed the Cobras to re-gain momentum.

The Cobras rang up 15 unanswered points before Vermeulen hit a field goal at the end of the half to cut the lead to 21-17.

“We had one coverage error which cost us on a long bomb and didn’t recover the ensuing short kickoff which resulted in two touchdowns in two minutes…..and that was the difference in the game,” added Smith.

The third quarter was scoreless but the Panthers eventually grabbed the lead midway through the fourth when Lemay connected on a two-yard run. Cochrane responded quickly again and caught the Panther defence with a reverse to go ahead with just over a minute to go.

With starting quarterback Thomas Hyett on the sidelines nursing an injury, Grade 10 back-up Zack Smith assumed the duties and drove the Panthers into scoring position. A 12-yard scramble, a five-yard pass and a pass interference call got the Cats into scoring range with three seconds to play.

Smith bought some time with his feet and lofted the ball into the corner of the end zone where 6-foot-3 Brad Hladik was waiting for the pass. Two Cochrane defenders converged and Hladik saw the ball tip off his hands twice before falling to the ground.

“This was a great game for both sides,” said coach Smith. “Cochrane is very well coached and caught us on the game-winning reverse. They were a perfect pre-season opponent for us as they made us defend screens, long balls, quicks and misdirections. On defence, they didn’t give us a lot in the passing game and we had to earn every yard.”

Liam Alder led the Cats with six tackles while Lemay, Landon Colvin and Trey Defoor added five. Hladik and Vermeulen both had interceptions. The Panthers continue their pre-season when they host the Hugh Boyd Trojans of Richmond Friday, 3 p.m. at Panther Field. The Trojans will be looking to avenge their provincial semifinal loss to the Panthers in 2016.

Hyett completed seven of 15 passes for 89 yards. Lemay finished with 20 carries for 98 yards, while Hyett had five touches for 40 yards.


Vernon Panthers defender Perez Vermeulen (10) locks up Cochrane (Alta.) Cobras running back Ryan Kaczmer in inter-provincial exhibition high school senior boys varsity football action Thursday at VSS. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

Just Posted

‘Listen to your gut’ urges injured skier

Mike Shaw was told he’d never walk again after an accident four years ago, but he defied the odds

Nasty note on windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Families of missing Shuswap women call for action

Birthday of missing woman Ashley Simpson remembered during rally in Yankee Flats

CPR a vital link in saving man’s life

Vernon man’s life saved by strangers performing CPR following heart attack on golf course

NHL puts Viper centre on notice

NHL Central Scouting has ranked Vernon Viper centre Brett Stapley a C-level prospect for next draft

Flag person struck by car

RCMP investigating incident involving female traffic control person and senior driver

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Guns and drugs seized in Kamloops RCMP blitz

Kamloops Mounties and the gang unit seize drugs and make arrests in two-day blitz

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Interior Health expands meningococcal precautions in South Okanagan

Oliver, Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls included in the expanded precautionary immunization measure

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Most Read