It didn’t take long for VSS to set the tempo for Saturday’s Subway Bowl.
And it paid off as the Panthers vanquished the Langley Secondary School Saints 43-13.
On the Panthers’ first play from scrimmage, quarterback Zack Smith found Caden Danbrook 43 yards downfield in double coverage for his first of 15 receptions on the day.
“We knew we had to set the tone of the game right off the start,” said Panthers’ wide receiver Caden Danbrook.
The Panthers also knew they had to stop the Saint’s run, specifically eastern conference offensive player of the year, running back Kai Thomas.
Thomas was held in check breaking away for only one touchdown before being sidelined in the second quarter with an ankle injury sustained while on a blocking assignment.
“One of his linemen hit him in the back of the leg and he went down,” Danbrook said.
Thomas tried to return to the game eventually but was unable to continue to play with the injured ankle and sat on the bench icing it down.
Unfortunately, the Saint’s offense has been a bit of a one-trick pony all year long and with that trick sitting on the sideline, they were just a small horse.
A small horse that the Panthers defence pounced on, sending the Saints straight down the Subway Bowl as they turned over the ball too many times and only scored two majors in the first half.
“We all just stuck to what he had to do we were aggressive as we could be,” said Panthers’ offensive lineman Brady Szeman.
In the absence of their own starting running back, who was injured in the first game of the season. Panthers’ pivot Zach Smith did the lion’s share of the work.
“Zack was everything six touchdowns and most valuable player,” said Panther’s linebacker Liam Reid.
Smith pretty much single-handedly dismantled the Saints’ defence for M.V.P honours, going 15 for 17 in the air including three majors and scampering 22 times for 163 yards and another three touchdowns himself.
In fact, the Panthers put up 30 unanswered points on the board on their way to a second straight Varsity title.
“Pretty good for us to be able to finish off our Grade 12 year with a win like that and showed everyone, people were doubting us,” Szeman said.
That doubt is perhaps now a dynasty as Coach Sean Smith’s VSS high school football program has now won three-straight Subway Bowls, one at the Junior Varsity level and two at the Varsity level.
“I think this is a dynasty, winning all those years,” Danbrook said.