To ensure they played their first playoff game at home, the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers had to travel to the Okanagan to close out their regular season with a win.
The Panthers accomplished their goal Friday night, blanking the Kelowna Owls 28-0 in the Apple Bowl to conclude league play with a 5-2 (won-lost) record and a third-place finish in the Eastern Conference of the BC High School Football Association. They open the 12-team Senior AAA playoffs tomorrow (Friday) at 1:30 p.m. against the Belmont Bulldogs at Cloverdale Athletic.
“It was a pretty clean game for us,” said Panthers head coach Kurt Thornton of the win in Kelowna. “We only turned the ball over once and took two five-yard penalties. This was a big improvement. Our defence was stellar only allowing Kelowna to gain five first downs the entire game.”
Lord Tweedsmuir rolled up more than 300 yards rushing, with Caleb Abraham carrying the ball 30 times for 230 yards and one touchdown of 30 yards, with Colton Zayshley rushing 10 times for 100 yards with touchdowns runs of 24, 17 and 34 yards.
Brad Mawson led the defence with 10 tackles and three quarterback sacks.
Against the Bulldogs, the Panthers expect to play a very difficult opponent.
“Belmont presents plenty of challenges to us as they are completely committed to throwing the ball,” said Thornton, noting they threw 57 passes in a game last week. “Nobody in our conference plays that way so it changes our preparation and will be a new experience for our players.
“I think if they hadn’t run into injury problems, they would have finished higher in the standings. They look better than any sixth place team I have seen in quite a while.”