Photo by Chung Chow
The Vernon Panthers have been a thorn in the side of the Hugh Boyd Trojans before, most recently just last year when they ended the Richmond team’s season.
Expect the Panthers to be just as formidable when the two teams collide on the high school gridiron this Friday for an exhibition tilt in the Okanagan.
“As always, I expect our team to compete,” says Hugh Boyd coach Bill Haddow. “Vernon has had our number over the years, but I don’t think that has any bearing on this game. The bottom line is that they are a very good team and we will have to play very well if we want to be successful.”
The Panthers earned a 21-7 victory over the Trojans in the 2016 provincial AA varsity playoff semifinals, but Haddow is more concerned with his team building success in the long term. A win in Vernon could potentially help solidify that foundation.
“Wins are always nice, and certainly don’t hurt the confidence level,” he says. “I suppose they may have added value going into a game against a quality opponent.”
With a win (33-14 last Friday at Robert Bateman) and a loss (16-13 to Handsworth Sept. 8) to kick off the exhibition season, Haddow says the Trojans are about where he anticipated. He says the play of the defence and special teams have been, as expected, the bright spots as the offence tries to find its way.
“For sure, the most positive thing is the turnovers our defence has created,” he says. “On the flip side, we have turned the ball over too many times on offence ourselves, so that has to be cleaned up. We are working through things to get the best combinations of personnel.”