He’s only in Grade 10, but Josh Hyer can already hold his own in the Okanagan Varsity Football Conference.
The Vernon Panthers’ tight end reeled in first-half touchdown passes from 34 and five yards as the Cats upended the previously unbeaten Westsyde Blue Wave 42-7 Friday night in Kamloops.
The Panthers, ranked No. 2 in the provincial AA loop, scored on their first four drives, while not allowing Westsyde a single first down in the opening quarter.
Receiver Levi Nicholas reached the end zone on a three-yard reverse to open the barrage. Tailback Zac Kronbauer followed that with a six-yard run two minutes later.
After a Westyde turnover, quarterback John Garvie (6-of-9, 115 yards, two TDs) hit Hyer in the end zone for the first of his two td receptions.
“I was impressed with the way our boys responded to a less-than-stellar performance last week,” said VSS head coach Sean Smith. “Josh Hyer has caught everything thrown his way and gives us a great option in the passing game. He works hard in the weight room and in practice, and it’s showing on the field.”
The Panthers took a 35-0 lead into the half following a 60-yard punt return touchdown by Kronbauer. Garvie capped the scoring, calling his own number from one yard.
“Our run defence was lights out today as the line got consistent pressure and didn’t allow their speedy back to get to the edge,” added Smith. “Chase Larsen (five tackles) was our best defensive player and controlled the right side of the line of scrimmage.”
The Panthers, who have been without a home field for five years, are hoping to close out the regular season by hosting the Fulton Maroons at the new VSS field. Game time and day has yet to be determined due to referee availability.
“It’s been a long haul being road warriors,” said Smith. “We practise at Hillview and play road games every week. This group of boys exemplifies Panther football so it would be nice for them to play their first-ever home game.”
The Maroons were also in Kamloops Friday night, manhandling the host Valleyview Vikings 33-0 after overcoming a case of bus leg early on.
QB Tye Kitzman paced Fulton’s attack with 201 aerial yards and four TD passes, three of them to Mike Williamson (32, 36 and 41 yarders). Max Chapman recorded the other, a 32-yard reception.
“Kitzman was awesome on both sides of the ball. He is a great kid who lives football and he deserves to get games like that due to his work ethic,” said Fulton head coach Mike Scheller.
On the ground, Williamson led the way with 73 yards, Kitzman ran for 71 and Chapman earned 64.
On defence, Chapman and Darien Broomfield each delivered nine tackles, while Sikandar Ahmad had seven. Kitzman picked off three passes for 56 total yards at free safety and Chapman recovered a fumble.
“Max Chapman was a beast on the blitz and he gave the Valleyview o-line fits,” said Scheller. “Bhupi Banga got his first starts as a starting slot and linebacker and acquitted himself very well.”
Scheller also credited Grade 9 call-ups Cole Hunter and Hunter Kreiger for anchoring the left side of Fulton’s o-line.
On the upcoming VSS matchup, Scheller added: “This is the biggest game of the year for us. Vernon is just a machine in this conference. They are talented and very well coached. We will have to play excellent just to compete.”