Suspect ball security cost the Rick Hansen Hurricanes a golden opportunity to advance to the provincial AA high school football semifinals, as they dropped a 16-12 decision to the Vernon Panthers at UBC on Friday.
The Hurricanes dominated the game in terms of yardage gained and time of possession, and the defence surrendered just one Vernon drive of any consequence, which resulted in a field goal.
But the Hurricanes turned the ball over five times, including two fumbles that were returned for touchdowns by the Panthers.
“It’s a game we should have won,” Hurricanes coach Paul Gill asserted. “But this game is all about bounces, and it was in the cards for them.
“We play them 10 times, we win nine of those 10 games. But full credit to them – they took advantage of our turnovers.”
Harpreet Dhaliwal and Brandon Ho rushed for the Hansen TDs.
TOP-RANKED BULLDOGS ELIMINATE PANTHERS
The Abbotsford Collegiate Panthers also saw their season come to an end in the AA quarter-finals, falling 40-6 to the top-ranked and undefeated John Barsby Bulldogs.
The Panthers hung tough with the heavily favoured Bulldogs in the early going, trailing 14-6 at halftime after quarterback Carter Williams passed to Jesse Neufeld for a major in the second quarter. But Barsby pulled away after the break.
“They kept grinding us down, and we held out as long as we could,” Panthers coach Jay Fujimura said. “But then the floodgates opened on a couple of our turnovers, and the score got a little lopsided.”
Despite the loss, it’s still been a terrific season for the Panthers, who finished second in the AA Eastern Conference and earned their first playoff berth since resurrecting the football program four years ago.
We took a lot of big strides with the program, as far as competing at the level I knew we could and the process of accomplishing goals we set for ourselves – improving on our discipline, how we approached the game, how we practiced,” Fujimura said.
SNOWFALL SIDELINES HAWKS
The W.J. Mouat Hawks were supposed to face the Kelowna Owls on the road Saturday in the AAA quarter-finals, but that game was wiped out due to heavy snowfall in the Okanagan. The game was rescheduled to 3 p.m. Monday afternoon at Mouat Field.
In junior playoff action, the Mouat Grade 10 squad lost 39-20 last Thursday to No. 1-ranked and undefeated St. Thomas More of Burnaby.