Vernon Magnums will enter the Southern Interior Football Conference’s Peewee Division playoffs as the team to beat.
The Magnums clinched first place Saturday, Nov. 7, with a 24-6 road win over the scrappy Kelowna Junior Sun Grey in West Kelowna.
Vernon’s offensive line, led by Bronson Milum and Nathan Hyer, was able to take control of the opening drive and march the Magnums into scoring position. Caden O’Dwyer punched the ball into the end zone to get Vernon on the board early.
On the ensuing kickoff, Kelowna Grey caught an unlucky bounce and coughed up the ball for Josh Vanderberg to conveniently fall on giving possession back to the Magnums in decent field position. A few plays later, due to some “janky jukes and clever cuts,” Oliver Harkness weaved his way in for another score to extend the lead to 12. Harkness would later pop in another touchdown before halftime and Vernon sat on an 18-0 advantage at the break.
Adjustments were made at halftime and Kelowna came out determined to limit the Magnum runners, causing three and outs on consecutive drives and creating havoc in the backfield.
Luckily the Magnums’defence rose to the occasion and with big touchdown-saving plays from Ethan Keddie and Owen West, the ineptitude with the ball didn’t cost Vernon on the scoreboard and kept giving the offence chances.
Quarterback Brock Warner, who finished 1 for 4, would eventually hit receiver Boston Ciccone for a pretty fingertip grab in space and take it in for a 30-yard catch and run touchdown.
Special teams gave up a big return and allowed Grey to bring it all the way back inside the 10-yard line where the tackle was eventually made by Ciccone to save the score. On third and goal from the one, the persistent Kelowna squad was able to push their way in and get on the scoreboard, but that was as close as they could come as Vernon was able to run out the clock next possession, ending the game at 24-6.
With playoffs starting next week Vernon (1) draws Kelowna Green (4) in a rematch from a hard-fought Week 2 game that saw Green come up short by only one score.