No Voodoo magic for Rutland on Seniors Night in Vernon Friday, Nov. 5.
The Vernon Panthers’ Grade 12s shone in their final regular-season home game, helping lead the Cats to a convincing 24-3 win over the AAA Voodoos in AA/AAA Okanagan Hybrid Division Senior Varsity High School Football League play at Greater Vernon Athletic Park.
Graduating senior Kolby Thorpe led a stingy VSS defence with two timely interceptions while fellow graduate Landon Janke had seven tackles, including three for losses. Terry Johnson had his best outing as a Panther, collecting seven tackles and giving Rutland’s quarterback fits in the backfield all game.
“I told the boys this game would be a good measuring stick to gauge how much we’ve improved since the first game of the season when we lost to Rutland by a single point,” said Panthers head coach Sean Smith. “A 21-point win was nice as I think it showed that we’ve come a long way and will be a tough out in the playoffs. The good news is that I think we haven’t reached our potential yet and still have room to improve in a lot of areas…”
Roan Reid opened the scoring on a perfectly placed deep ball by Grade 11 quarterback Jake Farrell. The Panthers would add another major in the second when tailback Scotty Hoffman caught a wheel route up the sideline.
Field goals by both teams made the score 17-3 at the half.
A penalty-filled third quarter saw the game grind to a halt, which is an area of concern for the VSS bench boss.
“We had 125 yards in penalties this game and most of them were in the third quarter,” said Smith. “This definitely has to be an area of emphasis for our team going forward as it sucked any momentum we had on our third quarter drives.”
Hoffman scored his second TD with a six-yard run one into the end zone in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers will host a play-in playoff game on Saturday, Nov. 13, against the Prince George Polars – game time is 1 p.m. at GVAP. The winner will advance to play the Duchess Park Condors in Prince George on Nov. 20.
The Condors defeated the Polars 35-12 in the all-Prince George battle to determine first place in the AA North Division.