Stettler Wildcats dominate in 2017 opener

Wildcats drub visiting Sylvan Lake 37-7 to open season Sept. 15

By Stu Salkeld The Stettler Independent

The Stettler Wildcats showed in their home opener Sept. 15 at Wm. E. Hay they aren’t just going to be competitive this year…they intend to dominate.

Under cold, dark clouds that afternoon, a chilly autumn wind blowing and facing league rivals Sylvan Lake on the home field, the Wildcats pounced on their opponents in a 37-7 victory.

Stettler head coach Norb Baharally said if he was able to field a 22-man roster, he was confident the team would be competitive. The Wildcats dressed 22 last Friday, and the results showed. “Having those few extra bodies really helped out,” said the head coach by phone Sept. 18.

Starting the season off right by drubbing Sylvan Lake was even sweeter. Baharally noted the Lakers beat Stettler in the conference finals last year and it was nice to get some payback.

Baharally said the key to the decisive win was consistency. “We were consistent in all aspects of the game,” said the head coach.

Offensively, the Wildcats really spread it around, with Brett Mercier, Patrick Bennett, Carson Neitz, Noah McKay, Kam Bainbridge and Liam McQuay all notching their first TD’s of the season. The Wildcats added converts and field goals too. Baharally said he was satisfied with the way the players marched downfield.

Defensively, the Wildcats played a solid game, making the big stops when needed and helping out on the scoreboard by adding a safety. “They played it out exactly how we wanted it,” said Baharally. However, the head coach said time of possession is always important, and he’d like to see his offense on the field longer, and his defense resting longer.

The special teams didn’t break any big plays but neither did they allow any, noted Baharally. “It’s always good when you don’t give up a big play on special teams,” said Baharally.

The head coach noted it’s not too late to join the Wildcats for the 2017 season; any students who wish to play should email him at nbaharally@clearview.ab.ca or call 403-740-3635.

Looking ahead, the Wildcats hit the road to face Ponoka on Thurs., Sept. 21 at 4:30 p.m. Baharally said he hasn’t seen any video of Ponoka, but word around the league is they’re a competitive team that wants to win. Baharally said he plans to capitalize on the Wildcat’s experience. “I anticipate it will be a good game either way,” said the head coach.

Stu.salkeld@piperstoneflyer.ca


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