The Vernon Panthers used a potent ground game to rack up a 33-6 exhibition win over the Fulton Maroons in high school senior AA boys football action Friday afternoon.
Playing in a downpour at Grahame Park, the Panthers’ thunder-and-lightning combination of Karson Patommel (23 carries for 177 yards, four touchdowns) and Zac Kronbauer (26 carries for 133 yards, one TD) helped power the Cats to 342 total rushing yards.
“It was wet, sloppy and messy from the opening kick-off which, unfortunately, forced both teams to bury their aerial attacks and slug it out on the ground,” said Panthers’ head coach Sean Smith.
Fulton QB Tye Kitzman scored on a nine-yard run, which left the Maroons trailing 13-6 at the half.
The second half was all Vernon, with Kronbauer barging in from three yards in the third quarter, and Patommel scoring from 17 yards and one yard in the fourth.
“Defensively, we were solid from the opening kick-off to the final whistle,” said Smith. “We forced six turnovers and only had two plays run against us that I’d like to have back.
“The most impressive stat for me was that we had 14 different boys that made a tackle in the game.”
The Maroons are inexperienced this season, with half the team playing its first game Friday. Fulton head coach Mike Scheller is confident they will improve with time.
“Defensively, we played pretty good for most of the game, until they ground us down,” said Scheller. “Offensively, we were terrible. We turned the ball over in every possession in the second half.”
Scheller praised the efforts of defensive back Carson Deboer and middle lineback Trevor Feeney.
Smith credited offensive line coach Keith Johnston for make some halftime adjustments that opened up the VSS run game. Linemen Jaxon Toth, Braydon Lodder, Tyler Wieber, Tylar Onjukka and Brandon Melbourne were workhorses, helping Vernon eat up the clock and put up points.
The Panthers visit the Salmon Arm Golds Friday, while the Maroons are in Rutland to face the Voodoos.