The Vernon Magnums are in the Southern Interior Football Conference Atom finals.
The first-place Magnums brushed back the fourth-ranked Kamloops Broncos 18-0 in semifinal action Sunday at Greater Vernon Athletics Park.
Vernon’s high-flying offence was on full display early as the first drive of the game saw them march down field, capped with a big 37-yard touchdown scamper by running back Josh Vandenberg. With the likes of Bronson Milum and Shaymus Waterstreet anchoring the defensive line, eating up eight and nine tackles respectively, the Magnums shut down the Broncos’ offence the entire first half, allowing only one first down.
Bryan Cragg’s Magnums strung together another 12-play drive largely due to some tough running inside by quarterback Brock Warner, who slid into the end zone to make it 12-0 at the half.
The Kamloops coaches made some adjustments on both sides of the ball and the Broncos’ defence was able to bend but not break and hold two goal-line stands on the outset of the third quarter.
The Broncos flipped the field position with a big reverse on their next possession, only being kept from scoring by a diving tackle by linebacker Magyver Wallace, who finished with six tackles on the day. That big play seemed to galvanize the Magnums’ offence again, and midway through the final quarter, Caden Odwyer turned a hand-off, surrounded by Broncos, into a 42-yard touchdown run to extend the lead.
Kamloops emptied the tank on trick plays but couldn’t beat Vernon linebackers Warner and Vandenberg on the edges. Warner and Vandenberg rang up seven tackles apiece.
Back-up QB Nathan Hyer came in due to an injury to Warner and racked up three consecutive first downs to run out the final minutes.
The Magnums will meet the second-place Kelowna Green Jr. Sun in the league final Sunday, 11 a.m., at the college turf. The Jr. Sun squeaked out a 13-12 victory over Kelowna Gray in the other semifinal and are the only team to have beaten Vernon all season.