The Vernon Panthers opened Okanagan Senior Varsity High School Football League play with a convincing 49-7 win over the visiting Salmon Arm Golds Friday at Greater Vernon Athletics Park.
Quarterback Zack Smith continued to light up opposing defences, accounting for seven total touchdowns for the defending provincial champs who are currently ranked No. 1 in the AA polls. Through the air, Smith completed passes to six different receivers, going 20 of 24 for 235 yards and five touchdowns. His favourite target, Caden Danbrook, was on the receiving end of two of the touchdowns (40 and 21 yards each) and registered six6 catches for 107 yards.
Grade 11 tailback Ethan Greenan also hauled in two TDs while Trent Charlton had one. On the ground, Smith had six rushes for 64 yards, including a touchdown. However, he was outdone by Greenan, who totalled 85 yards filling in for starting tailback Matthew Reich.
“We moved the ball pretty well today and were very accurate in our passing game,” said VSS head coach Sean Smith. “Zack was on fire and our receivers were able to get separation today. However, we still had a lot of mental mistakes (penalties) that cost us. If we don’t clean that up soon, it is going to cost us a win.
“I was really happy for Greenan. It was his birthday and he was able to get two touchdowns and a pick.”
The Panthers continued to limit opposing offences despite giving up a late touchdown. Zack Smith led the defence with two interceptions including a 90-yard pick-six while Liam Reid, Johnathan Bielski and Matthew Reich tied for the lead in tackles with three apiece.
Vernon get a week off before hosting the South Kamloops Titans Friday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m. at GVAP. The Titans won their league opener, 28-6, over the visiting Fulton Maroons (no details reported).
The Maroons will entertain Kelowna’s Okanagan Mission Huskies (bye week, 0-0) Friday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. at GVAP.