SURREY — The second-ranked Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers tasted defeat for the first time this season when they were upended 21-10 by the fourth-ranked Terry Fox Ravens in class AAA football action in Coquitlam last Friday.
The tough Ravens defence managed to corral the Panthers running game, stifling Lord Tweedsmuir's attack throughout the contest.
"It was a tough game and neither team really moved the ball well," said Panthers coach Kurt Thornton. "Fox is a good team but they took advantage of some short fields. In the end we had more rushing yards than them, or pretty close. In the second half we had four three-and-outs in a row and that definitely didn't help us. When you can't move the ball and keep giving them short fields, it's tough to beat a team like Fox."
Lord Tweedsmuir led 10-7 at the half thanks to a Jamel Lyles touchdown and a Connor McKay field goal. The Panthers had a chance to pad their lead moments before halftime, but McKay's pass to the end zone came up empty, leading to a missed field goal on the next play.
The second half was all Terry Fox as the Panthers offence sputtered throughout the final two quarters. Tweedsmuir's offensive problems were compounded by a botched punt from their own end zone travelled just 15 yards, setting up another Ravens touchdown.
Lyles finished the game with 18 carries for 88 yards and 1 TD, by far his lowest rushing numbers of the season.
On defence, linebacker Jairo Salazar, defensive back Brendan Woods and defensive lineman Austin Thornton all collected eight tackles for the Panthers.
Tweedsmuir is back in action Friday when they host Centennial at 3 p.m. A win will clinch second place in the eastern conference standings and assure the Panthers of a first round playoff bye.
Meanwhile in class AA football action, the Holy Cross Crusaders kept their playoff hopes alive with a convincing 50-6 romp over Spectrum in Victoria Friday. Jonathon Kongbo made an impact on both sides of the ball for the Crusaders, rushing 75 yards for one touchdown on offence and then returning an interception for another major while playing defence.
The Crusaders will face a much tougher test this weekend when they host cross-town rival Frank Hurt Hornets in a game to determine second place in the class AA southern conference. Game time is 1:30 p.m.
Elsewhere, the Seaquam Seahawks were grounded last Friday thanks to a baggage snafu with B.C. Ferries that left the Birds on Vancouver Island without equipment. Their game with Nanaimo District was cancelled as a result.
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