The Vernon Panthers’ road to the B.C.
Senior AA Boys Football Championships ended
Saturday at UBC Thunderbird Stadium.
Facing the No. 1 ranked and defending
champion John Barsby Bulldogs of Nanaimo,
a team that hadn’t lost since 2009, the Cats
were simply overwhelmed in a 54-6 loss.
“I haven’t seen a more dominant team than
Barsby in AA football. They were tough, hardnosed
kids that ran their system to perfection
and had no weaknesses to exploit,” said VSS
head coach Sean Smith.
The Panthers held
their own against Barsby
in the first quarter.
Trailing 6-0, they moved
the ball into the red zone
with two minutes to
go, but couldn’t get any
VSS suffered injuries to several players in
the second quarter and the Bulldogs took
advantage, building a 28-0 lead by halftime.
“They are a very physical team and it would
be nearly impossible to compete with them
for the full 48 minutes with the 18 bodies we
dressed. They had 30-plus and just kept coming
at us in waves and wore us down,” said
“I was very proud of the way my boys
handled the circumstances of the game. They
received praise from other coaches and officials
for the way they competed until the final
whistle and went further than any Interior
team has gone for a long, long time.”
Thomas Mills punched into the end zone
for Vernon’s lone score in the third quarter, a
four-yard plunge. He finished with 60 yards
on 14 carries, while Colton Klein added 40
yards on 10 touches.
Quarterback Caton Garvie completed
seven of 14 tosses for 88 yards and added 20
yards on the ground.
On defence, Keaton Hubner paced the
Panthers with seven tackles, Mills had six and
Klein and Cody Bell each had five.
“These boys were a
special group of kids that
had a lot of spirit and
heart. I’d like to thank
the Grade 12s for their
dedication to Panther
football. They are leaving
our program in better
shape than when they
entered it and have set the bar higher for the
younger guys,” said Smith.
Dexter Shea led Barsby with three rushing
TDs, Tim Hampson and Nathan Berg each
had two, and Brad Robson opened the scoring
on a 45-yard run in the first quarter.
In three playoff games, Barsby has racked
up an impressive 140 points, while giving up
just 12. Saturday’s win was the Bulldogs’ 23rd
consecutive victory. They face the Mission
Roadrunners in the championship game
Saturday at B.C. Place.
Mission grounded the Ballenas Whalers of
Parksville 34-14 in the other semi.