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Pair of Abbotsford Panthers commit

Lemperes, Morrison suiting up in college football in the fall

Two more graduating Abbotsford Panthers will continue their gridiron journey in the U Sports conference.

Chase Lemperes and Reese Morrison both announced their intentions to commit to the York Lions and Western Mustangs football teams respectively at Abbotsford Senior Secondary on Wednesday.

The pair were key parts of a Panthers football team that went only lost one game all season long in 2016.

Morrison, who played wide receiver and cornerback for the Panthers, said he’s had a lot of great memories wearing the red and black.

“My favourite memory playing football at Abby was in Grade 11 when we were playing for the final,” he said, referencing the Panthers’ run to the AA provincial final in 2015. “I loved the feeling everyone had going into the game and the hype you could feel the crowd giving off.”

Morrison had a great start to the 2016 season, scoring two touchdowns and picking up 170 yards receiving against West Vancouver.

“I’m looking forward to the whole experience at the next level,” he said. “The part that excites me the most is that I will be at a new school where I get to make memories with my new teammates and coaches.”

Lemperes excelled at centre and defensive end for the Panthers. He said his football journey has been a great ride so far.

“Reese and I have been playing football since we were eight and the fact that we grew up playing together, it is awesome to see us embark on our next step with football,” he said.

“I have been playing football since the age of eight and I have fallen in love with both the game and the atmosphere. I have never looked back since joining, and it has developed and shaped me as not only a player but a person overall.”

He said he’ll never forget his time at Abbotsford Senior.

“Football is, and always will be, a major instrument in my life no matter the consequences,” he said.

“The pure joy, ecstatic laughter, and wide eyes of my teammates after we had won and the horrible defeats in the finals were both my favourite part of my football career.”

He also cited the provincial title run with the Panthers in 2015 as a high point.

Lemperes isn’t the only Abbotsford product starting at York this year, as he joins Robert Bateman Timberwolves grad Dawson Davis, who committed to the school back in February.

Lemperes and Morrison will now square off against each other in the Ontario University Athletics conference. The Mustangs had a record of seven wins and one loss in the 2016 regular season, and then lost in the OUA final.

The Lions compiled a record of two wins and six losses in the 2016 regular season.

York hosts Western to open the regular season on Aug. 27.

The OUA season runs from late August to late October, with playoffs wrapping up in November.

Lemperes and Morrison makes it three Panthers players heading to post-secondary football programs, after Taylor Mante committed to Oklahoma Baptist University back in February.

-With files from Baneet Braich