One more win.
That’s what stands between the Kelowna Lions and the B.C. junior bantam football title.
The Lions—unbeaten in 11 games this season—will be in Langley this Sunday to take on the Meadow Ridge Knights in the championship final.
Kelowna head coach Arden Knoll expects this to be his team’s toughest test yet, but still likes the Lions’ chances.
“We have game film on them and I feel we match up very well with them,” said Knoll. “This will be our greatest challenge this year as they are a very good football team.”
The Knights advanced to the final with a 30-10 win last weekend over Victoria.
The SIFC champion Lions booked a spot in the final with convincing 39-8 win over the South Delta Rams on Saturday at the CNC turf.
“We were really dominant on defence with the Rams only score coming off a turnover on our own 10-yard line,” said Knoll. “The Rams managed to move it in from there for their only score. They never threatened to score the rest of the game.”
Parker Simson scored a pair of majors for the Lions, one on the ground and another on a pass reception. Seth Campbell rushed for two touchdowns, while Harris James added the other major on a quarterback sneak. The Lions were a little slow out of the gate on offense, leading 8-0 after the first quarter and 16-8 at the half, but kicked their game into gear in the final two quarters.
“We were a little sluggish in the first half on offense but started executing much better in the second half. Once the boys found their weakness they really challenged that part of the Rams defence constantly.”
In addition to solid execution on both sides of the ball, Knoll said he believed the Lions’ conditioning was a factor in the win.
“Credit has to go out to our sprint training coach Brandt Fralick for getting the boys in outstanding shape,” Knoll said.
Kick off Sunday in Langley for the title game is 11:30 a.m.
The Kelowna Lions fell one game short of a berth in the B.C. peewee football championship.
The Southern Interior Football Conference champs went down to defeat last Saturday in the provincial semifinal, 36-12 to the hometown Abbotsford Falcons.
Lions coach Gerry Dirksen said the Falcons were a much improved team over the one Kelowna defeated in a tournament early in 2011.
“We ran circles around them in the spring, but this one we saw Saturday was a completely different team,” said Dirksen. “They may have added some players, they’re very well-coached and they get better competition on the coast during the year than we do here. They just overpowered us.”
Still, the Lions got off to a good start as Alexander Gross made a spectacular catch deep in Abbotsford territory early in the first quarter. Jesse Benneke then capped the drive with a touchdown run to make it 6-0.
The game remained close through the better part of three quarters before Abbotsford pulled away in the fourth.
The Lions’ other major came from Blaise Beauchemin who stripped the ball from a Falcons ball carrier and returned it 70 yards for the score.
It was Kelowna’s first loss in 11 games this season, but coach Dirksen said it wasn’t for a lack of effort.
“Our guys were amazing. My guys played better than they’ve ever played, they made some outstanding plays. It was a great team to coach. Abbotsford was just too much.”