A disapointed Langley Saints head coach Ryk Piche called it “a tough way to end a season”
Vernon Panthers won their second consecutive Subway Bowl B.C. High School Senior Varsity Football championship at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver on Saturday, Nov. 30, scoring 30 unanswered points for a 43-14 win over the Langley Secondary School varsity football team.
“Vernon was who we thought they are,” Piche told the Langley Advance Times.
In other words, a tough opponent who arrived with an effective game plan.
It didn’t help the Saints cause to lose star running back Kai Thomas in the first quarter, the result of a nagging leg injury suffered during the team’s semi-final game against G.W. Graham Grizzlies from Chilliwack a week earlier.
Nor did some out-of-character errors, Piche elaborated.
“We turned the ball over twice, which is something we don’t do.”
Piche expressed pride in the team, calling them an “amazing group of kids.”
And while some graduating players won’t be back next season, there is “good solid core” of returning players to make another run at the top prize next year.
Thomas took to Twitter to call it a “great season” that “unfortunately it didn’t turn out the way we wanted in the end.”
“I’m really proud of my team for everything that they’ve done,” Thomas commented.
“The journey that we’ve had together will always be in our memories.”
READ MORE: VIDEO: Langley Saints varsity football team makes provincial finals
Vernon Panthers head coach Sean Smith said it took a total team effort to beat “a very big and physical Langley team.”
“We were concerned about whether we could stand up to the physical nature of Langley’s offence considering we were giving up a lot of size at every position,” Smith said.
“However, my guys proved (once again) that preparation, technique, speed and intensity more than makes up for lack of size. Instead of being worn out, I thought we wore them out and were able to pound the ball on them in the fourth quarter.”
Vernon opened the scoring in the first quarter when quarterback Zack Smith connected with receiver Trent Charlton, on a 35-yard score.
Langley equalized on a 74-yard run from scrimmage by Smith.
Panthers took the lead in the second quarter when their quarterback again hit Charlton for a major, this one from two yards out.
The play was set up by a 73-yard catch-and-run to receiver Caden Danbrook.
Vernon’s extra point attempt was blocked, leaving the Panthers with a 13-7 lead.
Saints tied the game with a two-yard run from back Harshaad Jouhal, and took a 14-13 lead with the extra point.
— BC HS Football (@BCHSFB) December 1, 2019
Late in the first half, Smith called his own number from the 10-yard line and scored on a quarterback draw. The two-point convert attempt was no good, and Vernon had a 19-14 lead.
Kicker Liam Reid increased the Cats lead to 22-14 at the half with a 33-yard field goal with 19 seconds left.
Late in the third quarter, the Saints were driving in Vernon territory when Danbrook caused a fumble, which was recovered by the Panthers’ Daniel Lesik.
Smith marched VSS down the field and, early in the fourth quarter, and again hit Charlton for the third time in the game in the end zone, giving the Panthers a 29-14 advantage after Reid booted the convert.
The Panthers defence came through again, recovering a bobbled Saints snap at Langley’s 22. Smith called his own number a few plays later, running it in from 10 yards out, and a successful two-point convert gave the Panthers a 35-14 lead with 10 minutes to go.
Smith scored his third touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter, and the two-point convert made it 43-14 Panthers.
The win capped off a second straight undefeated AA season for the Panthers, who took on all comers and went 10-0 in 2019.
Going into the game, the Saints had a 10-1 record.
– with files from Black Press Media