The Vernon Panthers and Fulton Maroons recorded lopsided Interior Senior AA Varsity Football League wins over Kamloops schools Friday night.
The Panthers scored on their first five possessions and then cruised to a 38-0 win over the host South Kamloops Titans, while the Maroons bottled up the Valleyview Vikings 31-6 at Greater Vernon Athletics Park.
QB Thomas Hyett carved up the South Kam blitz-happy defence by completing 15 of 23 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns. Zack Smith was his favourite target with six receptions for 98 yards to go along with a TD. Smith also ran one in from the two-yard line.
Caden Danbrook, who leads the Panthers in receiving, had four catches for 69 yards and a 33-yard TD reception. He also added 156 return yards on five punts. Senior tight end Riley MacGillivray contributed with four catches for 67 yards and a touchdown reception.
“I thought our execution tonight was outstanding,” said VSS head coach Sean Smith. “South Kam can bring a lot of pressure and a lot of different blitz packages, but we were able to pick them up and Thomas was great at finding the open man to make them pay. Our receivers were getting separation which is key against pressure man defence. Our offence was running on all cylinders and, once again, we were able to spread the ball around with five different receivers catching a ball and four different tailbacks rushing.”
Matthew Reich led all backs with 43 yards despite only rushing the ball five times. On the other side of the ball, the Cats’ defence was smothering all night allowing just two first downs. Defensive end Kael Black had a team-high seven tackles and two sacks.
Reich recorded six tackles from his strong safety position, while Drew Mackenzie had an interception. The second half was played with running time due to the score. The Panthers possessed the ball three times with Liam Reid making one of two field goal attempts.
“The coaching staff is very happy with the way we are coming together,” added Smith. “We’ve had a good run the past month and are starting to play the way I thought this group was capable of playing prior to the season starting.”
The Panthers take on the Westsyde Blue Wave in what could be a battle for first place in the conference Friday (5 p.m.) on the college turf. Both teams are 2-0.
“Westsyde has been on a roll of late. They picked up a very talented tailback. He’s a very dynamic athlete that we are going to have a tough time keeping in check. Like South Kam, they bring a lot of pressure defensively and stack the box — so we are going to have to be prepared for that or we could get into trouble.”
Meanwhile, Fulton rolled up a 21-0 lead at the half and cruised past Valleyview.
Evan Trottier scored on a one-yard run, while Colby Eisenhauer rang up a 22-yard TD scamper, Cayden Coombs hauled in a 20-yard TD pass from Trottier and Quin Williamson rushed five yards for a score. Trottier booted a 20-yard field goal and had one rushing TD.
Seth Pallister had 53 yards on eight touches, while Trottier rushed for 49 yards on four carries and Williamson earned 39 yards on four rushes. Nate Foster caught two passes for 26 yards.
Logan Higgs made six tackles, while Dayton Ingenhaag and Williamson each had five. Higgs registered two sacks.
“This was a good team victory for us,” said Fulton head coach Mike Scheller. “We played well in all three phases of the game. We ran the ball effectively and got 247 yards rushing from a variety of players. Our passing attack also picked up and we made some gains throwing the ball. Our offensive line played well with Seiji Bott, Logan Higgs, Carson Harrower, Brennan Kennedy and Liam Funk all had great games. Defensively, we played good. Their QB is a very dangerous runner and a tough kid. We contained him well. DT Liam Gombrich was very good for us. Linebackers Quin Williamson, Ethan Schiman and Dayton Ingenhaag were all really good versus the run. Higgs was a force once again from his DE position.
The Maroons are 2-1 in league play and entertain the Salmon Arm Golds Friday night (7:30) at the college turf.