Matthew Reich of the VSS Panthers tries to get past a Kelowna Owls player in junior varsity high school football Tuesday. (Keith Johnston Photo)

Panthers stuff Owls 35-0

The Vernon Panthers cruised to a 35-0 junior varsity football win over the Kelowna Owls Tuesday.

The Vernon Panthers scored on their first five drives and cruised to a 35-0 Southern Interior Junior Varsity Football League win over the Kelowna Owls Tuesday.

The Cats held the Owls to negative yards and no first downs in the first half. Defensive tackle Ben Warren and defensive end Aidan Buckley set the tone early and had their best days in a Panther uniform, each registering five tackles.

An offence that is used to moving the ball through the air and put up 300 yards passing a week ago, showed that they could get behind their offensive line, with all five TDs coming on the ground. Matthew Reich (eight carries for 70 yards) started things with a 10-yard touchdown run.

Zack Smith followed with two scores from 10 and 13 yards, while Caden Danbrook rounded out the touchdown barrage with runs from four and nine yards.

“This was another complete game for our boys,” said VSS head coach Sean Smith. “Each week we have new players step up and become playmakers. This week it was Aidan and Ben who raised the level of their game. If this team continues to improve at the rate they are – we are going to be a very complete and hard to beat team in November. What I like is that we’ve shown we can win in the trenches and we can also win a track meet. They are also dedicating themselves to film study and game prep and it paid off on Tuesday.”

Seven Panthers posted four or more tackles. Danbrook, Brady Szeman and Reich joined Warren and Buckley with five, while Isaiah Ondrik and Kevin Morgan rang up four a piece. Michal Preston led all receivers with 47 yards. The second half was played with the mercy rule in effect, meaning that the clock doesn’t stop. Neither team managed to reach the end zone with both squads going to their benches.

The same two teams meet Tuesday in Kelowna.

Meanwhile, some second-half turnovers killed the Fulton Maroons in a 34-14 Southern Interior Junior Varsity Football League loss to the Mt. Boucherie Bears Wednesday at Grahame Park.

It was 14-14 at the recess with Quin Williamson scoring on runs of one and seven yards. Hayden Catt booted both converts.

Williamson converted three of 15 passes and was picked off three times. He racked up 63 rushing yards on 13 touches, while Reyanne Siddique compiled 80 yards on 16 rushes. Karan Malhotra produced 49 yards on four receptions (longest a 22-yarder), while Markus Liefke had one 25-yard catch. Liefke was solid at safety.

Head coach Mike Scheller said the Maroons forced the Bears to throw the ball, which helped Fulton control possession in the opening half.

“The second half was a different story,” said Scheller.

“We simply made too many mental errors and we wore down, which led to too many turnovers. We fumbled twice and were intercepted in a span of three minutes in the third quarter and that was the game. We need to be mentally tougher and turn the ball over less.”

Scheller said his inexperienced bunch are smart and will only get better with reps.

“I thought Williamson had a very good game. He stood in the pocket tough and ran hard. He is a quality competitor. Up front, Adam Sexton, Aaron Edwards and Jackson Sampert played hard and blocked well on the o-line. Liam Gombrich played very well on defence for us again. He is a tough kid to block.”

Gombrich and Williamson each garnered six tackles, while Schiman and Van Kozak, seeing his first action at defensive end, had five. Quaid Willett had one fumble recovery.

The same two teams meet Wednesday in West Kelowna. The Maroons are 1-2. The Senior Varsity Maroons visit the South Kamloops Titans tonight at Hillside Stadium.