The Vernon Panthers made it three in a row as they grounded the host Valleyview Vikings 14-10 in junior boys varsity football league action Thursday afternoon in Kamloops.
The Cats were led by the pinpoint passing of Grade 9 quarterback Keegan Vickland, who went 5-for-9 for 150 passing yards. He opened the contest with a 60-yard strike to Zack Hyer to give VSS an early 6-0 lead.
The Vikes controlled the clock for most of the second and third quarters, but were held in check by Vernon’s defence. Justin Havercamp and Carson Lebreque delivered timely outside blitzes resulting in key losses for Valleyview.
In the fourth quarter, the Panthers put together a solid drive, highlighted by a 30-yard snag by Hyer and another sensational catch by Ben Hladik to put Vernon on the five-yard-line. Vickland capped it with a dart to Hladik.
Haverkamp added a two-point convert on a well-blocked sweep to complete the scoring.
The Vikings pressured the Panthers’ defence late, but a timely tackle by cornerback Liam Boyd relieved the pressure.
“This was an ugly win,” said VSS head coach Dave Tetrault. “We turned the ball over four times. We found a way to hang in and won it at the end.
“They were a much bigger team than us, but our boys weren’t intimidated. Our defence hung in there and Vickland stood tall in the pocket to win the game.”
The Panthers host the Kelowna Owls on Wednesday before wrapping up the regular season against the host Westsyde Blue Wave in two weeks.