The VSS Panthers rallied to ground the Fulton Maroons 32-22 in exhibition junior varsity high school football action Tuesday at Grahame Park.
Shifty tailback Zac Kronbauer led the Cats with 23 carries for 230 yards and three touchdowns, opening the scoring with a 65-yard romp on a pitch. He ran in the two-point convert.
Safety Jon Garvie picked off a Fulton pass early in the second quarter, but the Cats failed to capitalize and the Maroons responded with two TDs before the break.
The third quarter began with a Fulton defensive stop and ensuing touchdown for a 20-8 lead.
VSS replied when Kronbauer scampered 74 yards for a TD and Garvie ran in the convert eight minutes into the third quarter.
The Panther defence made a critical stop led by hard-tackling linebackers Ben Alder and Brayden Lodder, sparking a 70-yard TD run by wideout Travis Froom off a reverse from halfback Brandon Richter.
Kronbauer completed the scoring on a 51-yard sprint followed by a two-point convert up the middle.
Alder finished with 10 tackles, while Froom registered one sack and one fumble recovery.
“It was a solid effort by all the boys,” said Panther head coach Dave Tetrault. “Zac showed an exceptional ability to find open space. I was impressed with the heart he showed in the second half being 12 down and coming back. Offensive co-ordinator Tim Thorpe has done a great job getting our new players up to speed on assignments.”
Fulton’s Caleb McCuaig hauled in TD passes of 44 and 24 yards from Tye Kitzman, while Kitzman rambled nine yards for another score. Davron Polok registered a pair of two-point conversions.
Max Chapman had 12 touches for 81 yards, while Kitzman carried seven times for 64 yards and Polok rushed five times for 41 yards.
Kitzman was 5-for-12, passing for 109 yards with one interception. Darrien Broomfield made two catches for 31 yards, while Liam Curran had a 10-yard reception.
Polok led the Maroons with a dozen tackles, while Trevor Feeney had nine, Brandon Isaac five and Brett Shaigec three. Feeney had one fumble recovery.
“It was a well-played and entertaining jayvee football game,” said Fulton head coach Mike Scheller. “Both teams executed well, and gave a lot of effort. We had a 22-8 lead mid third quarter, and let it slip away. Their tailback (Kronbauer) is pretty special. He has another gear that we have not seen for a while. Both teams did a lot of substitutions, and in the end, Vernon’s subs played better down the stretch.”
The Maroons’ offensive line was ignited by centre Romello Coufal and guard Zach Neill, who fired off the ball well.
“Brandon Isaac stepped up, and was also very tough for us on defence. Polok played great at dee, and was always hustling and pursuing. He is turning into a quality player. Ben Aspenleider was solid on special teams, and he covered well at safety.”
VSS opens the regular season Tuesday against the Westsyde Whundas at Grahame Park, while Fulton starts Wednesday in Kamloops versus the Valleyview Vikings.