The Vernon Panthers’ defence caused considerable grief for West Kelowna’s Mt. Boucherie Bears.
The hometown Cats had eight tackles for losses, one quarterback sack and two interceptions as Vernon improved to 2-0 in Okanagan AA/AAA Hybrid Division Senior Varsity Football League play with a 22-6 stuffing of the Bears Friday, Oct. 8, at Greater Vernon Athletic Park.
The Panthers pitched a shutout into the fourth quarter and put the game’s first two points on the board when Mt. Boucherie took a safety in the opening stanza.
Grayson Statham led all tacklers with 11 tackles while Landon Janke chipped in eight. The Cats had 8 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 2 interceptions on the day.
“Our defence was lights out again today,” said Panthers head coach Sean Smith. “No. 23 (Bears running back Aiden Wiberg) is a load to take down and he brings it every time he touches the ball – so I was happy that we were able to step up to the challenge and play tough against a physical team.”
Offensively, the Panthers continued to struggle to find the endzone and get into a rhythm. Despite a season-high eight penalties that put them in tough down and distance situations, quarterback Jake Farrell had a successful day passing the ball going 15 of 21 for 247 yards and one touchdown.
Kolby Thorpe led all receivers with a game-high 78 yards on three catches – including an 18-yard TD catch and a 33-yard circus grab on the sideline.
“Boucherie played a lot of cover 1 and 2 man which was a good opportunity for our receivers to make some big plays,” said Smith. “We had six passing plays over 20 yards which was a good sign for our offence. Our O-line did a great job and gave us time to throw when we needed it. I thought they did a great job on our screen calls which resulted in 65 yards of offence.”
The Panthers opened the scoring with a first-quarter safety and followed it up with a one-yard td run by Scotty Hoffman. The score would remain 9-0 until Thorpe’s touchdown extended the lead to 15. Following a fourth-quarter touchdown by Boucherie, Joe Murphy would close out the scoring with a 11-yard sweep to make the final score 22-6.
VSS will host the South Kamloops Titans (1-1) Friday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. at GVAP.