The Vernon Panthers advanced to the B.C. Junior Varsity football semifinal with a thrilling 28-22 double-overtime victory over the Hugh Boyd Trojans Thursday afternoon in Richmond.
The Panthers take on the top-ranked Abbotsford Collegiate Panthers Wednesday night at the Burnaby Lakes Sports Complex.
Trailing 14-0 at the half, the Panthers capitalized on an early third-quarter fumble recovery when tailback Levi Nicholas (10 carries, 109 yards, two TDs) scored from five yards out.
It remained 14-8 Trojans until late in the fourth quarter when Zac Kronbauer (12 touches for 86 yards, two TDs) evened the score on a 12-yard run.
With seconds left in regulation, Hugh Boyd drove inside the 10-yard line, but were denied on a fourth-and-goal pass that fell incomplete.
In overtime, Kronbauer scored from three yards out and Levi Nicholas converted for an eight-point lead. However, the Trojans responded with a touchdown and two-point convert to tie it up.
On the second series, Zack Hyer snuffed a QB keep on third-and-long. The fourth-down pass came up short.
Needing a touchdown to win the game, quarterback John Garvie laid out a beautiful third-down pass for Nicholas, who scored on the 12-yard connection.
“I couldn’t have asked my boys to give me any more than they gave me in that game,” said VSS head coach Sean Smith. “We were on the ropes and they rallied back from two scores down on the road to make some outstanding plays under pressure.
“Lots of credit goes to our defensive coordinators (Tim Thorpe and Dave Tetrault) who made some adjustments at the half and held them off the scoreboard until overtime. We are in the provincial semifinals for the second year in a row which is a huge accomplishment for our program.”