Vernon players relish the chance to play at home again

JACK NEUMANN

DONOR

For five members of the University of Calgary Dinos football team, the pre-season game against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds is a chance to perform in front of many family and friends .

It’s also a chance to play another game on the field where they had so much success in high school at Vernon Secondary.

The game between the Dinos and UBC marks the first time the North Okanagan has hosted a Canadian U-Sports bootball game. The contest is called the Kal Tire Kalamalka Bowl, with game time at 7 p.m. at Greater Vernon Athletic Park tonight (Wednesday, August 24).

The Dinos began their preparation for the Canada West regular season and preseason game on Sunday, August 21, with the start of training camp which consists of two daily practices at McMahon Stadium.

Receiver Zack Smith, offensive lineman Brady Szeman and linebacker Liam Reid were all members of the Vernon Panthers’ 2A Provincial Championship team in 2018 and 2019, coached by Sean Smith. They were also junior provincial champions in 2017.

Rookie wide receiver Roan Reid, younger brother of Liam, is a freshman on the 2022 team, but due to damage to the Coquihalla Highway, the Panthers were only able to play in the BC Interior Finals in 202, losing to GVAP 21-20 to Kelowna Secondary Owls.

Former Panthers defensive end Josh Hyer, who won a Vanier Cup national championship with the Dinos in 2019, will also be in the game for Calgary. Former VSS star Bradley Hladik will be from UBC.

For Zack Smith, this will be his first action on the road with the Dinos as injuries prevented him from playing just one game, the home opener, in the shortened 2021 Canada West Conference schedule. is dressed for a road contest in Regina. Smith and Szeman are counted on to contribute in 2022 with the graduation of several receivers and offensive line personnel.

Liam Reid saw the most action of the trio dressing for all six Conference games. He recorded nine solo tackles, five assisted tackles, two tackles for a loss and a forced fumble.

“I’m thrilled and excited to be coming back to Vernon to play a game,” Szeman said.

All former Panthers are looking forward to playing in front of family, friends and former teammates in Vernon with a large crowd of nearly 1,500 expected to see the last two Canada West teams to win the Vanier Cup, with UBC winning in 2015 and Calgary in 2019.

“The role of the Kalamalka Bowl Society is to bring the highest level of amateur football to the North

Okanagan,” said Malcolm Reid, vice president of the company. “It will be the highest level of football ever played in the North Okanagan.

The contest gained national attention when it was featured on TSN during the recent Canadian Football League game between the BC Lions and the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday night August 13.

There will be plenty of on-field and off-field entertainment during the game, including a Nissan-sponsored Kick to Win competition.

The contest’s guests of honor include BC Lions stars Jim Young and Jamie Taras, CFL Hall of Famers, whose numbers were retired by the Lions, and the man who took over the position of Taras in the center, Angus Reid.

A number of former students from each school will also be on hand to watch the contest.

The festivities kicked off Tuesday night with the teams helping out at a skills camp for high school students and underage soccer players, followed by a game at Polson Park.


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