Morning Star Staff
Sebastian Sanchez was a force with both of his legs for the Vernon Marauders Junior Bantam football team Sunday.
Known for his prowess in booting converts, Sanchez was 4-for-5 on extra point attempts, recorded nine tackles on defence and added a 45-yard punt return for a touchdown to lead the Marauders to a 38-0 Southern Interior Junior Bantam Football Conference quarterfinal win over the Kamloops Broncos at Grahame Park.
The third-place Marauders go into a conference semifinal Sunday at the CNC Turf Field in Kelowna at noon against the second-place West Kelowna Sundevils who, along with the regular-season champion Kelowna Mission Lions, received a first-round bye.
“The Marauder defence overwhelmed the Broncos, holding their best drive of the game to only six yards,” said Vernon head coach Ron Kirschner. “But this win was a real team effort.”
Also strong on the Marauders’ D was Miles Forrest with six tackles, Zack Rogers and Josh Hyer each had four tackles and a quarterback sack, while Reid (Pinball) Mackenzie also had four tackles.
Kirschner also praised defensive tackle Dorian Weeks for playing his best game of the year with two tackles and pressure on the Broncos quarterback on every play.
The Vernon offence was led by Tyler (Ducky) Sova, who had two rushing touchdowns – one on a 52-yard tackle-busting romp down the sideline – and threw a 31-yard TD pass to Morgan Nichols.
Nichols also rushed for a 21-yard major, thanks in part to the solid blocking of linemen Jackson Ponipal, Kaiden Parton, Tyler Riva and Landon Fitt.
Kirschner applauded the special teams contributions of Tyler Braun, Isaac Olsen and Koalden Oakden.
The Salmon Arm Broncos meet the Mission Lions in the other semifinal.
On the plus side, the Vernon Magnums enter the B.C. Midget championship playoffs on a winning note. On the down side, they go into the post-season without one of their quarterbacks.
Bill (Lumpy) Tarr’s Magnums crushed the North Langley Bears 40–0 in torrential rain at Langley Stadium Sunday to earn a playoff spot against the Chilliwack Giants.
Vernon opened the game very aggressively on offence by scoring on their first two drives.
Colton Klein supplied four touchdowns on 23 carries for 292 total rushing yards on the day, while Kyle Richardson scored two TDs on two carries. Hawk Mendoza added 25 yards on four touches.
The Magnum defence matched the intensity, allowing only one pass completion.
Middle linebacker Mike Ochoa led the defence with six tackles and a forced fumble, while Collin Gauthier and Kyle Richardson each had five tackles.
Jordan Johnson had four tackles and Justin Vicklund and Gage Gibson each recorded three solo tackles.
Broden Romanovitch stepped up his game with three interceptions.
The Magnums lost QB Chad Woodhead for the season. Woodhead scrambled to recover a fumbled ball and came out of the pile up with a broken wrist.
“The heart and desire these players are showing in the past two games is now matching their skill and athleticism,” said Tarr, the Magnums’ head coach.
“The entire coaching staff has been working toward getting this team to play with heart and determination to be motivated for the playoffs at just the right time.”
There is playoff action in Vernon Sunday as the regular-season champion Vernon Yellow Jackets host the Kamloops Wildcats in a Pee Wee conference semifinal.
Game time is noon at Grahame Park. The Yellow Jackets are 10-0 and will be playing their final home game of the season.
A win Sunday vaults Vernon into the conference championship Nov. 18 in Kelowna.