Panthers aim for 13th

Vernon Panthers face the Alpha Aztecs for 13th place in their final tilt of the B.C. Senior AA Boys Rugby Championships.

A win an two losses have the Vernon Panthers facing the Alpha Aztecs of Burnaby for 13th place in their final tilt of the B.C. Senior AA Boys Rugby Championships today at Rotary Stadium in Abbotsford.

The Cats, ranked 12th heading into the tourney, rebounded from Wednesday’s 25-7 loss to the No. 13 Ladysmith 49ers by shutting down the No. 16 Caledonia Kermodes of Terrace 15-0 Thursday.

“It’s been a great experience here,” said VSS head coach Stu McKnight. “There are 800 rugby players from all over the province and it’s just a huge tournament.

“We are very much near the lower learning end of the scale. It’s our first trip here as the VSS Panthers, so it’s been a learning experience.

“Some of the AAA teams you watch, half of them don’t look like school boys; they look like men.”

VSS graduation was Friday, and with several players involved with the organizing committee, and others understandably wanting to attend it, the Cats were a little shortstaffed this week.

“It’s just a shocker for timing for us,” said McKnight. “It just complicated our whole week, with parents driving back and forth.”

The No. 1 Collingwood Cavaliers of West Vancouver and No. 2. Brentwood College Blackhawks of Mill Bay tangled in the gold-medal game Saturday, with the No. 3 Rockridge Ravens of West Vancouver and No. 4 Glenlyon Norfolk Gryphons of Victoria playing for bronze.

Collingwood upended the Gryphons 23-8 in semifinal play Thursday, and Brentwood crumbled Rockridge  37-3.

In quarterfinal action Wednesday, the Cavaliers grounded No. 8 Mulgrave Titans of West Vancouver 29-15; Brentwood hammered No. 10. Southridge Storm of Surrey 49-5; Rockridge downed the No. 6. Okanagan Mission Huskies of Kelowna 36-22; and No. 4 Glenlyon-Norfolk bounced the Hugh McRoberts Strikers of Richmond 31-29.

In the AAA division, three-time defending Shawnigan Lake School advanced to a fourth straight championship game after stopping the No. 4 St. George’s Saints of Vancouver 33-13. No. 3 Carson Graham Eagles earned the other finals berth after they stuffed St. Michael’s University Blue Devils 44-13.