The Fulton Maroons raced out to an early lead and hung on for a 14-14 draw against the host Rutland Voodoos in senior varsity football exhibition play Friday afternoon.
Caleb McCuaig reeling in an 11-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Tye Kitzman, and Carson Deboer, rambling 44 yards on a fumble recovery, both in the second quarter, accounted for Fulton’s offence.
Rutland replied with scores in the third and fourth quarters.
“This was a very even game between two inexperienced teams,” said Fulton head coach Mike Scheller. “I think both teams got better from the previous week and we matched up OK with Pete Mccall’s Rutland side.”
Scheller credited defensive coordinator Lance Heron for tightening up the Maroon defence, which was led by Deboer (defensive end) and Trevor Feeney (middle linebacker). Outside linebackers Davron Polok and Layne Greene played admirably in unfamiliar positions.
“We tackled well and our offence did not help our defence in the second half,” said Scheller. “Special teams for us were good for all four quarters.”
Meanwhile, the Vernon Panthers relied on a stout defence to brush back the host Salmon Arm Golds 19-6 in varsity exhibition Friday night.
After a scoreless first half, John Garvie scored on a QB keep from two yards. Salmon Arm took the ensuing drive 50 yards, capping it with their own QB keep to equalize.
“It was a defensive battle in the first half, with neither team able to get in any kind of rhythm offensively,” said VSS head coach Sean Smith. “We found some things that were able to work in the second half and capitalized on our opportunities.”
In the fourth quarter, tailback Zac Kronbauer took over the game, starting with a 62-yard TD bomb from Garvie.
On the following drive, Kronbauer capped a series of runs with a 10-yarder to put the game out of reach.
“Zac was a difference-maker for us,” said Smith. “He has great vision and was able to find small holes in their defence and turn them into big runs.”
Smith also cited defensive standouts Chase Larsen (seven tackles, two sacks) and Andy Hladik (eight tackles, one sack).
“Chase was a disruptive force in the backfield all game long. His relentless effort and weak-side pursuit was key to our ability to shut them down.”
Friday’s win is Vernon’s first over a AAA opponent in recent memory.
“We don’t schedule games against the AAA teams very often, but any time you beat a school that has nearly twice as many athletes to choose from, it’s a big deal,” said Smith.
The 2-0 Cats visit Kamloops to face the Westsyde Blue Wave Friday night.