Two Okanagan high school football teams will be vying for provincial glory this weekend.
British Columbia’s annual high school football championships will take place at B.C. Place with five games on Saturday, December 1st. In the junior varsity 3A final, the Kelowna Owls will battle the Belmont Bulldogs of Victoria at 1:30 p.m. Then, at 4 p.m., the Vernon Panthers will meet the Robert Bateman Timberwolves of Abbotsford in the 2A varsity final.
In the road to the Subway Finals, Vernon defeated Ballenas of Parksville 51-14 in quarter-final action, then blanked John Barsby of Nanaimo 44-0 in the semifinals.
The Timberwolves made the final by blanking Windsor of North Vancouver 28-0 in the quarters, then shutting out Holy Cross of Surrey 49-0.
Kelowna took a longer path to its final. In one of four wildcard games before the quarter-finals, the Owls ran roughshod over St. Thomas More of Burnaby 55-14. Kelowna then beat Notre Dame of Vancouver 27-12 in the quarter-finals before crushing Lord Tweedsmuir of Surrey 41-0 in the semifinals.
WATCH BELOW: The KSS junior varsity Owls describe their winning philosophy.
According to the Owls, the Tweedsmuir Panthers were the two-year reigning provincial champions.
Belmont took the same path as Kelowna. The Bulldogs beat Centennial of Coquitlam 47-14 in a wildcard game before pasting Terry Fox of Port Coquitlam 33-0 in the quarters and edging Vancouver College 21-12 in the semifinals.
In making the final, the Owls are reportedly the first Central Okanagan high school team to play for a provincial football championship.
“This group is special,” said Chris Cartwright, director of the KSS football program.
“We knew that this group had the ability to do very special things.”
This season, the Owls are 7-0 and have outscored their opponents 323 to 18. Leading KSS is Grade 10 quarterback Nate Beauchemin.
Beauchemin’s poise in the pocket is well beyond his years; he’s a dual-threat quarterback with a cannon for an arm who can also scramble for big yards if his receivers are covered.
“He’s a leader here and he leads by example,” said Cartwright.
“I have to give it to our coaches and our systems,” said Beauchemin. “They are pretty smart; they know our players and how to make the best of it.”
As for his plans this weekend, Beauchemin said “we’re going to go down there and we’re going to win the provincials and bring it back home.”
In the three other finals, Vancouver College and St. Thomas More will meet in the Grade 8 final at 8:30 a.m.; in the junior varsity 2A final at 11 a.m., the Windsor Dukes will battle the G.W. Graham Grizzlies; and the varsity 3A final at 7 p.m. will feature the New Westminster Hyacks and Mt. Douglas Rams of Victoria.
For more on B.C.’s high school sports scene, click here.