Revenge is best served later in the year.
The Vernon Panthers found that out the hard way Wednesday in Clearbrook.
The John Barsby Bulldogs of Nanaimo avenged an exhibition loss to the Panthers with a 22-8 provincial junior varsity semifinal victory.
“We couldn’t find any rhythm in the first half,” said Panthers head coach Sean Smith, whose charges beat the hometown Bulldogs 30-16 in Nanaimo in September.
“This team has been very good at making big game changing plays all year and we couldn’t make any in this game. Full credit to Barsby who schemed well and didn’t make any mistakes.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Bulldogs took control of the game in the second stanza, eating up large chunks of time on consecutive drives. Both culminated in touchdowns with two-point converts that put the Panthers in a hole.
Thomas Hyett hit Caden Danbrook for the Cats’ lone touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Charles Lemay (13 carries for 81 yards) ran in the two-point convert.
Defensively, the Panthers didn’t give up any big plays but couldn’t stop the double-wing Barsby offence in the second quarter.
“I think we got a bit tired midway through the second and they marched a couple in on us,” said Smith. “They didn’t pass once all game, but their scrum-style offence is very hard to defend when you don’t play against it regularly.”
Lemay led all tacklers with eight while Liam Alder and Drew Mackenzie each had six.
“Trey Defoor was great all game for us,” said Smith. “He not only had four tackles and a sack, but he was our inspirational leader and kept the boys going when we were down.
“This group of boys gave me everything they had this year,” said Smith. “I can’t say enough good things about their work ethic and drive to excel.”
Smith credits assistant coaches Lance Heron and Tim Thorpe for preparing the boys to be top-four in B.C.
“Lance and Tim have gone above and beyond in terms of their commitment and dedication to the Panther football program,” he said.