The Pen High Lakers senior boys rugby team are Okanagan Valley 3A champions.
The Lakers advanced to provincials in Abbotsford to be played later this month after defeating the Kelowna Secondary Owls 26-21.
The Lakers held off the Owls in the final 10 minutes of play as they were camped inside the Lakers 22-metre marker. The visitors defended an onslaught of attempts on their try line. With eight minutes to play, Laker D.J. Warkentin was given a yellow card after taking numerous penalties near his try line. The Owls converted a try to get within five and continued to pressure.
“Brayden Jones ripped the ball from a KSS players grasp just as he was surging over the line to score,” said Lakers coach Ken Sommerfeldt, adding Jones got the ball past the Lakers five-metre line with the referee blowing the whistle shortly after to end the game.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Sommerfeldt of advancing. “The boys were pretty happy. They were more happy to beat Kelowna.”
Sommerfeldt said the players had a strong start with Dante Kilian scoring a try in the opening 10 minutes. He also converted a kick. The Owls tied the game shortly after but Warkentin and Kilian put the Lakers ahead, 14-7 at the half.
In the final half, the Owls closed the cap and were awarded a penalty try for a high tackle committed while trying to score. Warkentin scored his second try of the game but Kilian’s attempted convert went wide. Kilian made amends for the miss shortly afterwards scoring his second try which he then converted giving the Lakers a 12-point lead.
The provincial championship in Abbotsford will start on May 31. Sommerfeldt said they now have to find out how much provincials will cost and where they can get money to pay for the trip.
When it comes to on the field, he knows the Lakers have depth to have some success. Their first game will be against Kitsilano in the AAA Tier 2 division, which features No.1 Claremont, Terry Fox, Argyle, Kitsilano at four, the Lakers ranked No. 5, followed by Cowichan, West Vancouver and Lord Tweedsmuir.