The Vernon Magnums were looking to accomplish something not done since 2011 and capture the SIFC league championship Sunday as they hosted the Jr Sun team from Kelowna.
Having lost twice in season play to the Magnums, the Jr Sun couldn’t have started the game off better when they recovered a Vernon fumble on the opening drive. The Sun were able to find a crease in a usually stingy defence and break a big 60-yard touchdown run on the team’s fourth play of the game, having failed on the conversion the visitors took a 6-0 lead early.
Vernon struggled the entire first half on both sides of the ball as they continued to go three and out on offence and allowed multiple drives by the Sun on defence which ended in another big touchdown of 52 yards and a 12-0 deficit at the half.
Seeing their season slipping away galvanized a resilient squad and led by seven second-half sacks by rookie defensive end Bronson Milum and Magyver Wallace who has a knack for touchdown-saving tackles, the home Magnums didn’t allow another first down for the entirety of the game. Benefitting from some great field position Oliver Harkness, recently back from injury, was able to score on two consecutive series and convert an extra point getting the Magnums back in the game with a 13-12 lead by the fourth quarter. The Sun continued to attack edges but were repeatedly bottled up by linebackers Kingston Jarvis and Leeum McJannet who also had a timely fumble recovery late in the game. Harkness converted that turnover into his third touchdown of the day with minutes left in the match.
With a six-point difference, the game came down to one last possession for the Jr Sun to try and crack the goal line but was stymied by three consecutive tackles for losses by backers Josh Vandenberg and Brock Warner ending the game, winning the SIFC Atoms Championship and sending Vernon to provincials.
Magnums will square off against a team out of Abbotsford for a winner takes all game hosted in Kamloops this Saturday. Vernon atoms last visit occurred back in 2011 when the Blue Bombers took the provincial title.