After a season filled with highs and lows, the Columbia Valley Bighorns football team have claimed the Southern Interior Football Conference provincial championship with a 13-7 victory over the previously undefeated Vernon Magnums on Saturday, November 12, in Kamloops.
The Bighorns entered the game with a record of 6-2, with their only two losses for the season coming at the hands of the Magnums (8-0), including a 51-7 thrashing the last time the two teams met.
With the team coming in well-rested after Penticton forfeited their semi-final playoff match, the Bighorns controlled the line of scrimmage on defence, allowing the Magnums past the 55 yard line just four times over the course of the game.
Bighorns quarterback Ryley Purdy was instrumental on both offence and special teams, chipping away with short passes and runs while at the same time pinning the opposition deep in their own end with number of excellent punts.
“Day by day, the team really bought into the program,” Bighorns coach Bruce Marlow said of the season.
“When it was all said and done, the boys were calm and confident—the boys learned everything we taught them and listened on every single play. The defending champion Magnums did not go down without a fight—the Magnums are class from head to toe.”
The victory marks the Bighorns first provincial championship, having been defeated by these same Magnums in last year’s championship game. Tye Green was named league MVP, and the Magnums selected the Bighorns quarterback as the game MVP.
“(It’s amazing) to meet the goal of becoming provincial champions that we set at the beginning of the season,” Marlow said.
“The looks on the boys’ faces after we had won… you can’t buy those faces. It was incredible to see this group come together and represent the Columbia Valley this way.”
Marlow also wanted to thank both his fellow coaches, and the parents of all the players for the support they have shown the team over the course of the season.
“The province knew we had football here, they just didn’t know how good these boys were,” Marlow said. “I think ‘provincial champions’ says it all.”