Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers head coach Kurt Thornton runs a drill during practice at the Cloverdale-area secondary school before the season began for the football team. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

With road win, Cloverdale’s Panthers leap into high school football season

‘We have a good core group here,’ Tweedsmuir head coach says of his top-three AAA Varsity team

Football season has kicked off for Surrey-area high school teams.

In the AAA Varsity division, Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers went into New Westminster and beat the Hyacks 15-6 at Mercer Stadium on Friday night (Sept. 6), while Sullivan Heights Stars fell 26-0 to Robert Bateman Secondary in Abbotsford and Earl Marriott lost 21-14 to Charles Wright in Tacoma.

Cloverdale-based Tweedsmuir is ranked among the top three high school football teams in the province this season.

“We have a lot of kids starting this year who didn’t start last year, because we had a pretty heavy Grade 12-filled roster last season,” Panthers head coach Kurt Thornton said. “But this is a good group of kids and a good group of football players. They won the JV (junior varsity) championship two years ago, so in this group there is some talent. We lost a couple kids to other sports but we have a good core group here.”

Terrel Jones and Noah Anderson will be busy players for the Panthers this season, according to Thornton.

“Terrel is our number-one quarterback right now, and he does other things well too,” the coach said. “He won’t take a lot of plays off. I think he’s one of the best players in the province, and he’ll be a major difference for us.”

On bchighschoolfootball.com, the Panthers’ roster shows 30 players.

“It’s not a huge roster, but we’re making the most of it,” Thornton said. “The numbers are down across the province.

“With our Grade 8 program, we didn’t have enough kids to have a team this year,” he added. “Only four kids showed up (at tryouts). It’s kind of heartbreaking, because we’ve had a Grade 8 team for a lot of years, until now.”

This Friday night (Sept. 13), Tweedsmuir travels across the border to play Blaine in an exhibition game, before another road trip to Coquitlam on Sept. 20 to play Terry Fox. The team’s home-opener is on Friday, Sept. 27 against Kelowna, starting at 3 p.m.

Meantime, Sullivan Heights will play at Cloverdale Athletic Park on Friday (Sept. 13) against Centennial, in a 5 p.m. start, and South Surrey’s Earl Marriott will host Mt. Boucherie at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14.

In the AA Varsity division, Holy Cross opens its season in Vernon on Friday (Sept. 13), with the team’s home-opener set for Friday, Sept. 20 against WJ Mouat, starting at 2 p.m.

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