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Kelowna and Vernon square off in high school football championship

Click to play video: 'Kelowna and Vernon square off in high school football championship' Kelowna and Vernon square off in high school football championship
Kelowna Secondary School held on for the win despite a late push by the Vernon Panthers late in the fourth quarter – Dec 4, 2021

It’s not the championship game either team was expecting, but it was a championship game nonetheless for Vernon Secondary and Kelowna Secondary.

It was called the Interior/North Championship as the double-A Vernon Panthers took on the triple-A Kelowna Secondary Owls Friday night at the Great Vernon Athletic Park, the Owls coming away with the win.

Both teams had their provincial playoffs cancelled, which would typically be held in Vancouver at B.C. Place, due to the extreme flooding and damages on B.C. highways.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, the reigning double-A Subway Bowl champions won’t be able to compete for a chance to three-peat.

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“We got thrown a curveball and this is not the playoffs we were expecting but you know what? The energy is just coming from our kids, who just want to play,” said Chris Cartwright, Kelowna Secondary’s head coach.

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Cartwright said his team was ecstatic to have a final game to close out their season.

“We thought our season was done after the floods and everything but B.C. high school sports figured out a way for us to finish our season off and the boys are just excited to play so that’s what it’s all about,” said Cartwright.

Sean Smith, Vernon Secondary School’s head coach, said his team “would normally be playing in the double-A playoffs in B.C. Place right now.”

“This game was a made-up game from the league. We normally wouldn’t be playing a triple-A team in the playoffs,” said Sean Smith, Vernon Secondary School’s head coach.

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Regardless of school division, It was a spirited affair, with both teams scoring multiple touchdowns.

The Panthers scored a touchdown in the final seconds of the game, went for a two-point conversion for the win but failed to convert, crowning Kelowna Secondary as champions of the Interior/North region.

Final score of the game was 21-20 for Kelowna.

The game’s most valuable player was awarded to Kelowna’s Evan Fitchett, a Grade 12 wide receiver and linebacker, who caught six passes from quarterback Joey Howorko for 106 yards and one touchdown.

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