Tailback Levi Nicholas scored on the first two drives of the game as the Vernon Panthers cruised to a 49-6 win over the Westsyde Blue Wave in senior AA boys football play Saturday at Grahame Park.
Zac Kronbauer added three more scores in the first half to help the host Panthers to a 35-6 halftime lead over the Kamloops-based Wave.
Nicholas opened the scoring with a five-yard run, and then took a John Garvie (5-of-7, 80 yards) screen pass 15 yards to the end zone.
Kronbauer, who collected 94 yards on eight carries, added 25- and 10-yard TD runs to go along with a 79-yard kick-off return.
“I liked the balance we had in the first half as we were able to connect on some passes early and hit on some big runs,” said VSS head coach Sean Smith. “Garvie made some good reads in the pass game and Andy Hladik was solid for us as a tight end again.”
Garvie scored on the opening drive of the third quarter on a weaving QB keep, and Karson Patommel rounded out the scoring in the fourth.
Travis Froom, with six tackles, and Tyler Wiebe, with four tackles and two sacks, led the Panther defence.
“Wiebe and Froom made plays all over the field and were key to us getting pressure,” said Smith. “Despite the win, we have some work to do in our pass defence. We made some undisciplined decisions that led to key receptions. If we are going to compete against the top teams, we have to shore up our coverage responsibilities.”
The Panthers (4-0) host the Salmon Arm Golds Saturday afternoon (2:30) at Grahame Park.
Maroons thrive in the Wild
Meanwhile, the Fulton Maroons grounded the Mt. Baker Wild of Cranbrook 36-6 Friday in the Kootenays.
Davron Polok, on a nine-yard run, and Caleb McCuaig, on a 50-yard pass from Tye Kitzman, gave Mike Scheller’s Maroons a first-quarter lead. A 19-yard TD reception by Darrien Broomfield had Fulton ahead 22-0 at the half.
Luc Mitchell handled the Maroons’ scoring in the second half, barging in from four yards in the third quarter before returning an interception 40 yards in the fourth.
Fulton’s defence recorded a pair of safeties.
Kitzman completed 5-of-9 passes for 156 yards and no interceptions, while Tyler Liefke was Fulton’s main ground threat with 30 yards on a dozen touches.
McCuaig earned 123 yards on three catches.
Defensively, Carson Deboer had three tackles and Trevor Feeney and Polok each had two. Feeney and Romello Coufal each earned a pick.
Sacks went to Deboer (2), Polok, Feeney, Coufal and Franky Gettis.
“This was a good game for us against a very young, but game Mt. Baker squad,” said Scheller.
“Overall, we executed well on both sides of the ball and our whole roster got a bunch of playing time.
“Defensively, we were very aggressive and we caused them a lot of problems. Defensive coaches Lance Heron and Kevin Stecyk dialed up some good blitzes and we scored 10 points defensively.”
Scheller noted the efforts of Liefke at tailback and Taran Lafond at slotback, as well as the defensive performances by Conner Annesley, Ed Petit-Jacquin and Ro Hemart.
The 2-1-1 Maroons took in the NCAA Division 1 game Saturday at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho. The host Vandals grounded the Temple Owls of Philadelphia 27-24 in front of 15,325 fans.
Fulton hosts the Valleyview Vikings of Kamloops Saturday (noon) at Grahame Park.