A single section of seats brought BC Place stadium to life Saturday morning, as the Windsor Secondary Dukes faced off in a tight provincial final match against the Vernon Secondary Panthers.
After a back-and-forth first half, and an equally close second, the Dukes emerged victorious after a goal line stop prevented the Panthers from scoring what would have been a game-winning touchdown.
While the Panthers started off looking dominant and scoring an early touchdown in the first quarter, the Dukes quickly responded with an interception and a couple big plays before tying up the game 6-6 ahead of halftime with a touchdown of their own.
Scoring another touchdown and a conversion in the second half, the North Vancouver team is your new AA junior football champions. The final score was 13-12.
Despite starting the game with a bad kick and a string of penalties, Windsor head coach Malcolm Allen said his team kept their emotions in check and regained momentum after a couple plays by some of the star players.
Running back Brady Smith was named MVP for 100 yards on 12 carries, and second on the team in tackles. Zeke Jackson was named best lineman.
While they kept calm during the game, Allen said the team erupted with excitement at the end of the game.
“There was a little bit of surprise on some of their parts that they pulled it off,” he said. “It was a very, very good Vernon team with athletes all over the field and very solid linemen that throughout the year looked like the best team for AA in the province.”
Considering his team started off with many new players at the beginning of the season, Allen said he’s impressed with how far they’ve come.
“They're an athletic, talented group, but there wasn't a lot of football skill to start. And they really decided as a group that this is something they wanted and believed in,” he said.