VSS Panthers defensive linemen (from left)

VSS Panthers defensive linemen (from left)

Panthers ground Vikings in OT

The Vernon Panthers stopped the Nechako Valley Vikings 21-14 in first-round B.C. High School football playoff action.

The VSS Panthers stopped the Nechako Valley Vikings 21-14 in a B.C. High School AA Football first-round playoff overtime thriller Friday in Kamloops.

VSS will now meet either the Rick Hansen Hurricanes of Abbotsford or the Seaquam Seahawks of Delta in quarterfinal play next week.

Brett Lemiski hauled in a 10-yard touchdown reception from Caton Garvie and Thomas Mills booted the convert for the Cats’ OT points. The Vanderhoof boys failed to score on their four downs. Nechako Valley led 7-0 at the half and scored the tying TD with one minute left.

“Full credit to Nechako, they executed well and played tough defence all game,” said VSS head coach Sean Smith. “Fortunately we came out in the second half, moved the ball a bit and scored.”

Garvie ran four yards for a score in the third quarter with Mills kicking the convert to tie the game. Lemiski rambled five yards for a TD and Mills converted to put the Panthers up in the fourth.

Added Smith: “I was disappointed in our composure under pressure. We took too many penalties which almost cost us the game. We had a punt return for a touchdown called back on a hold, and gave them the ball back in the fourth quarter on a roughing the kicker and late hit on fourth and 20. If we want to compete in the quarterfinals, we will have to be more disciplined as a team.”

Colton Klein was a horse carrying the ball 15 times for 116 yards, including one 25-yard romp. Garvie had six touches for 21 yards, while Keaton Huber gobbled up 13 yards on five attempts.

Garvie completed eight of 14 passes for 128 yards, including a 48-yarder to Perry Klymchuk, who finished with four catches for 88 yards. On defence, Lemiski provided four interceptions and four tackles, Mills recorded seven tackles and Hubner had six tackles and one pick. Cody Bell bagged four tackles and one interception, while Isaiah Hennessey supplied three tackles and one pick.

“Brett Lemiski and Perry Klymchuk had outstanding games for us, both receiving and defending the pass,” said Smith. “Brett had four interceptions and caught the winning touchdown in overtime. Perry was our leading receiver and set up our first TD with a 48-yard reception. He also knocked down a pass in the end zone in overtime.”

In Nanaimo, the No. 1 ranked John Barsby Blazers bounced the shortstaffed Fulton Maroons 46-0 Friday at Merle Logan Field.

It was 40-0 at halftime in extremely cold, rainy and windy weather so the game was running time from then on.

Fulton only had 14 players in uniform; Barsby had 34.

Said Barsby coach Rob Stevenson: “They looked pretty short-benched but they fought, gosh darn it. That team had courage and they brought a lot of honour to the game, I thought. They travelled a long way knowing what was coming and gave a good account of themselves.”

Fulton, who finished third in the Valley Conference and missed the playoffs, were a fill-in team for Langley Saints which forfeited their berth.

“They’re the best AA team I’ve seen in 13 years,” said Fulton head coach Mike Scheller. “They are extremely physical and they hit right to the whistle. They’re tough as nails. I’m real proud of my kids. They wanted one more game and they knew they were in tough, and they made a big commitment to the team.”

The Kal Lakers lost to the South Devil Sun Devils Friday in Kamloops. No details were available at press time.