Morning Star Staff
The Vernon Panthers extended their undefeated record to 5-0 Tuesday with a 33-13 Interior varsity football win over the AAA Kelowna Owls.
After a scoreless first quarter, tailback Matthew Reich opened the VSS scoring Panthers with a 15-yard touchdown reception. On the ensuing Owl drive, cornerback Zack Smith stepped in front of an errant Isaac Athens’ pass and returned it the distance.
Kelowna responded with a major of their own with Athens hitting tight end Lucus Spencer in the corner of the end zone before Charles Lemay pocketed the first of two scores with four minutes to go in the half.
“We came out slow and weren’t playing with the same fire that I’m used to seeing these boys play with,” said Panther head coach Sean Smith. “I made a QB change and it sparked us a bit in the second quarter. Tommy (Hyett) came in and made a few plays with his arm and feet that allowed us to score.”
Hyett led the Cats’ passing attack by going 6-of-9 for 150 yards with two touchdowns; including a fourth quarter 70-yd catch and run bomb to Caden Danbrook that put the game out of reach.
Smith added another interception to go along with seven tackles. Trey Defoor added eight tackles and a sack, while Tristan Baker supplied 4.5 tackles and a sack, while Drew Mackenzie, Ethan Mitchell, Kael Black and Tristan Baker all chipped in with four.
“Our defence really tightened up in the second half,” added Smith. “I was very impressed with Tristan Baker’s play all game. He is quietly becoming one of our best defenders. Kelowna passed a lot and really tested our secondary, but other than one coverage mix-up, we held up very well getting four interceptions.”