The host Salmon Arm Golds used a potent ground game in the second half to outgun the Vernon Panthers 47-12 in junior varsity football exhibition play Wednesday night.
Panther fullback Justin Haverkamp opened the scoring with a six-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, however, the Golds responded with two scores of their own, including a 30-yard bomb to the end zone.
To end the first half, Vernon quarterback John Garvie (9-of-15 for 99 yards) took advantage of a Charis Ondrik interception, running it 23 yards to even the score.
“Haverkamp and Garvie were our game stars today,” said VSS head coach Sean Smith. “We were a bit shorthanded offensively and they both stepped up to fill the void.”
The first play of the second half was indicative of the rest of the game as Salmon Arm took it 65 yards to go up 19-6. They scored four more times in the second half to seal the win.
“We came out tired and flat in the second half and they took it to us,” said Smith. “We were soft up the middle on defence and they made some good adjustments at halftime to take advantage of that.”
Meanwhile, in Southern Interior Football Conference action, the Vernon Pee Wee Yellow Jackets stuffed the Kelowna Lions 21-8 in a defensive battle Sunday.
After a scoreless first quarter, tailback Bryce Tkachuk rambled for a 47-yard TD run to put Vernon up 6-0. That score held until midway through the third quarter when an errant Vernon pass was intercepted by the Lions and returned for a score and a two-point convert.
“This was a classic defensive battle with both teams tackling well, forcing turnovers and not giving up any easy yards,” said head coach Bryan Cragg, noting the Jackets recovered five fumbles to Kelowna’s three.
Vernon opened up in the final quarter, scoring on consecutive possessions. Rylie Macgillivray (14 carries for 88 yards) was the workhorse, scoring on 50- and 10-yard runs to ice the game.
“I liked the way our offence responded when we got down,” said Cragg. “We haven’t trailed in a game since Week 4, so it was nice to see how the boys dealt with some adversity and pressure.”
The win guarantees the 9-0 Yellow Jackets first place and a first-round bye in the playoffs.