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Vernon keeps streak, wallops Salmon Arm in high school football

Vernon won 43-0 over host Salmon Arm
The offensive line for the Vernon Panthers was instrumental in their 43-0 shutout victory over the Salmon Arm Golds on Friday, Oct. 20. (Rhonda Hove Photo)

The Vernon Panthers football team remained undefeated in league play over the weekend, by steamrolling the Salmon Arms Golds, 43-0.

The Panthers roared out of the gate, amassing 21 points in the first quarter, which set the tone for the rest of the game. The offensive fireworks began with tailback Jonah Lee, who ignited the scoring with a one-yard plunge on the opening drive. A few plays later, Lee followed up with a two-yard run, catapulting Vernon to an early 14-0 lead.

Quarterback Cole Budgen added to the Panthers’ lead hitting Anderson Bicknell for a 12-yard touchdown strike. Budgen would go 10 of 16 for 148 yards on the night with two touchdown passes, one to Bicknell and another to Lee.

The Panthers defence also joined the scoring barrage. Tristan McKenzie proved instrumental when he scooped up a loose ball, and returned it 60-yards for a touchdown. Budgen continued to dice the Salmon Arm defence, connecting with Lee once more on a 33-yard catch and run, sending the Panthers into the halftime break with a 36-0 lead.

Coach Sean Smith lauded the offensive line for their outstanding efforts in paving the way for Lee to score three rushing touchdowns and accumulate over 100 yards on limited carries.

“Our offense has been very balanced, and we were able to find success in the power run game as well as get out on the edges,” said coach Smith. “Each week we add more wrinkles that make us more difficult to defend on the ground. I thought that Cisko Hove had a great game and is getting more and more comfortable playing a new position (O-line) each week.”

The second half featured only one touchdown, with Lee securing his third rushing touchdown of the game, this time from 15 yards out. Defensively, it was Bicknell who led all tacklers with five, while Austin Dunnill and Aiden Engleman contributed three each. Seth Holte and Lee had interceptions.

With this victory, the Vernon Panthers (currently ranked second in B.C.) maintain their unblemished record in AA League play at 4-0, and their overall season record stands at 6-1. The next challenge awaits on Friday, Oct. 27 when they square off against the Fulton Maroons in the annual Battle of Vernon at the Greater Vernon Athletic Park.

The Panthers have dedicated this event as their Tackle Breast Cancer Fundraising night, with all proceeds from concession sales and the 50-50 draw earmarked for breast cancer research. The players will also be serving sundaes to Vernon Secondary students on Wednesday to raise additional funds for the cause.

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Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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