Morning Star Staff
The score was one-sided, the ferocity was not.
The Vernon Panthers beat their cross-town rivals Seaton Sonics – playing their first Interior Junior Varsity Football League game in nearly a decade – 40-0 in the league regular-season opener for both teams Tuesday at Greater Vernon Athletics Park.
It was VSS’ third game, counting two exhibition contests. For the Sonics, with a roster featuring 80 per cent of players who had never played football before – it was their first.
“The final score does not reflect the intense battle on the field,” said Panthers head coach Ed Huber. “It was Seaton’s first football game in I don’t know how many years, and they executed well, but they could not match the experience of the junior Panthers playing in their third game of the year.”
Seaton fumbled the ball on their first drive giving VSS a short field and leading to an opening minute TD. VSS didn’t look back, taking a 26-0 lead into halftime.
Panthers rookie QB Thomas Hyett went 7-12 passing for 125 yards and two TDs, hooking up with Dylan Huber on a 10-yard toss and Grade 8 phenom Zach Smith on a 42-yard catch and run0.
Fullback Bradley Hladik ran five times for 120 yards and one major while tailback Charles Lemay scored twice, running eight times for 93 yards.
Riley MacGillivray scored on a nifty 10-yard run. Huber converted four of five attempts.
Tyler Deboer led the VSS defence with 4.5 tackles, Lemay had four, Tristen Baker and Garrret Black Thomas each added three.
“This was a team effort with 12 players getting tackles and eight different players running or receiving the ball,” said Huber.
Landon Colvin led the Sonics on both sides of ball.
As quarterback, Colvin rushed for 135 yards behind the solid blocking of center Taylor Pelletier and guards Brennan Kennedy and Shai Baker. Colvin added 15 tackles on defence.
Fullback Miles Forest chipped in another 56 yards rushing, made some critical blocks and had nine tackles defensively.
Thomas Mackiewich helped in the field position battle with several great punts, one of which was for 43 yards. He also made eight tackles.
Nolan Cummings, Jaden Stone, Zack Boring and Morgan Laverdure were also solid on the Sonics’ D.
“I am very proud of the way our players competed today,” said coach Ron Kirschner.
“Considering that this was the first football game ever for 80 per cent of our guys, they put up one hell of a fight.”