Roaring start carries Vernon Panthers to victory

The Panthers defeated the Holy Cross Crusaders 40-0 in exhibition play Friday

The Vernon Secondary School Junior Panthers made short work their Friday opponents, the Holy Cross Crusaders, winning 40-0 in exhibition play at Greater Vernon Athletic Park in Coldstream.

The Vernon team – a force in this year’s high school junior league – got out to an incredible start, mounting a 34-point lead in the first half.

Quarterback Zack Smith proved to be a dual threat for the Panthers, passing for 159 yards on a 66 per cent completion rate. Receiver Caden Danbrook was his favourite target, hauling in three passes for 72 yards including a 45-yard touchdown bomb.

Smith led all rushers with 115 yards rushing on nine carries including two rushing touchdowns. Matthew Reich added 87 yards on 11 carries with two trips to the end zone. Danbrook and Reich were also stellar on the defensive side of the ball with five tackles apiece. Roan Reid also had an interception that he ran back 20 yards into the end zone for a pick-six.

“(The Crusaders) brought consistent pressure off the edge, but (Smith) was able to escape and either run it for big gains or pass on the run when scrambling,” said Panther’s coach Sean Smith.

All in all, it was a complete effort from the home team that left little for the Panther’s coach to nitpick.

“We were able to have a pretty balanced attack today and I liked that we could move the ball in chunks down the field, chewing up the clock,” said Smith.

“Our run game is starting to come around and we are making improvements each week. In the passing game we were able to hit them overtop once, but otherwise made some quick throws and took what was there.”

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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