The Vernon Panthers rode a strong second half to put away the visiting Westsyde Blue Wave of Kamloops 34-7 in the Cats’ Interior Senior Varsity Football League regular season opener Friday afternoon at Panther Field.
Zach Hyer continued to impress on both sides of the ball, scoring on a 29-yard reverse to open the scoring and later intercepting an errant pass for a 55-yard pick-six to put the home squad up by 21.
Tailback Riley Bos also contributed two majors, rushing from five and six yards out. Quarterback Justin Haverkamp rounded out the scoring, running it in from the 15 yard line.
Liam Boyd booted four of five converts. Levi Nicholas had 62 yards rushing on nine carries.
“We had a lot of young guys in there today and I was very proud of they way they held their own,” said Vernon head coach Sean Smith.
Ben Hladik once again led all tacklers with five and a sack. Fellow defensive end Josh Hyer contributed four.
“Our defense gave up one big play, but other than that we were solid,” said Smith. “Hladik, Zack Hyer and Josh Hyer were lights-out on defence.”
The Panthers (1-0) visit the Valleyview Vikings Friday in Kamloops.
Fulton Maroons dropped their regular season opener Friday, 23-13, to the South Kamloops Titans in a game played in blustery conditions at Thompson Rivers University’s Hillside Stadium.
“Basically, if you had the ball going against the wind you could not pass or kick,” said Maroons head coachMike Scheller. “It really changed the dynamic of the game. Neither team scored going against the wind, and it nullified your kicking game.”
Caden Doyle rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Maroons. Jeff Han, Colton Annis and Ryan Rumsey also contributed to the running game while Han was 1-2 on converts.
Annis had 11 tackles on defence, Bhupi Banga and Ethan Eisenhauer added six each.
“Our kids improved again,” said Scheller. “It is a building season for our young team, and we get better each week.”
Tackles Gurwinder Dhanoa and Anthony Prince had strong games for the Maroons (0-1), who head to the Lower Mainland for an exhibition game against the Hugh Boyd Trojans of Richmond Friday. Fulton will play Westsyde at Hillside Stadium Oct. 23.