It was a dramatic day last Saturday at BC Place, with both the AA and AAA titles up for grabs. Check out our recaps from a terrific day of football and make sure to watch the highlight videos for each game!
Vernon vs Robert Bateman
In a dominant season to that point by the Vernon Panthers, they were facing their stiffest test in Robert Bateman.
The Timberwolves had not given up a single point in their two previous games under the dome against defending champs Windsor and against perennial contenders Holy Cross. Which is why it was so impressive that Vernon was able to do what they did offensively in a 47-12 victory to win them the AA title.
Five first half touchdown from Charles Lemay (yes you read that correctly) had them up 35-0 at half, which proved more than enough to get them the win.
“I’ve never felt anything better in my life” said Lemay postgame, still basking in his team’s victory. “It’s an awesome feeling.”
Watching Lemay that game was watching prime Marshawn Lynch. He was dragging piles of Bateman defenders with him down the field, and seemed to always break away from the first guy trying to tackle him near the line of scrimmage.
Vernon finished the season 10-1, their only loss being a 50-7 defeat to the hands of AAA semi-finalists Terry Fox. So what changed after that?
It was quite simply the defence. Since that loss back in September the Panthers gave up only 32 points, including six shutouts. They had a first half shutout in the final, but let in two touchdowns when the game was essentially done and dusted.
The Vernon Panthers were truly the best team in AA all season, and were deserved champions.
New Westminster vs Mount Douglas
For Gideone Kremler, Saturday night marked two amazing bookends to his senior varsity career.
As a grade nine back in 2015, he led the Mount Douglas Rams to the AAA title just mere hours after playing in the Junior Varsity title game for the Rams. And now three years later, he managed to end his high school career the same way he started it with a 48-24 victory over the New Westminster Hyacks.
“The guys I play with, we’re all family” said Kremler talking to BC Sports Hub postgame. “Every year it was always the goal to get back here. We did it in grade ten but didn’t come out victorious, grade 11 we had a rough year. In grade 12 this was our last year, it was our only shot. We knew we had one goal in mind, and that was to come back here and win.”
It didn’t start off that well for the Rams. A misplaced lateral early in the game by the aforementioned Kremler was recovered by the Hyacks, which they would convert into a 6-0 lead.
But after that, Mount Doug would score three straight touchdowns to make it 21-6. At one point both teams fumbled the ball on two straight possessions — it was that sort of back and forth game for the most part.
“I’m so proud of these guys” said Mount Douglas head coach Mark Townsend. “Our effort was tremendous. That first half we made some mistakes, we were able to regroup and I can’t say enough good things about our defence. They played awesome. Our offence was rolling and again, I’m so proud of these guys.
They faced some adversity over the last couple of years and they’ve come back. I think they’re very deserving to be crowned provincial champions.”
This year’s adversity was back to back losses against Notre Dame and Vancouver College, and you could be forgiven if you gave the Rams their last rites after that point. But the team grouped together and didn’t lose a single game after that, knocking off two of the favourites in Saint Thomas More and Vancouver College in back to back games the playoffs.
“You can take a lot away from a loss” said Townsend discussing the two defeats that could have sent the season off the rails. “That’s really the process for improvement, and I think our kids did improve as the season went on. We hit our stride coming into the playoffs.”
The Kremler era of Mount Douglas football could not have ended on a better note for both player and program.
Written by: Nick Bondi