In a thrilling weekend of football, two Stettler teams managed to pull the rabbit out of the hat as the bantam Cougars returned from Red Deer with a victory and the peewee Panthers held on to a razor thin lead at home, but the Wm. E Hay’s Wildcats dropped their claim to the league title.
The Wildcats took a heavy 21-0 defeat in Red Deer on Friday, Oct. 29 at the hands of the Hunting Hills in a game, which the Wildcat head coach Norbert Baharally was still happy about.
“We had more rushing yards than they did and we had as many first downs as they did, but we just could not score,” said Baharally.
“The final score of the game was also the final score of the first half and that tells us our defense has done a good job in the second half.”
“But overall I am happy with the effort,” Baharally said.
The Wildcats now have a week to rest and prepare for their first game in the provincials on Nov. 13.
“We will be playing at home but we don’t know against who,” said Baharally.
The Cougars, for their part, achieved the unexpected and delivered a 16-3 defeat to Lindsay Thurber Raiders on Saturday, Oct. 30.
In the make-or-break game for the local boys, it was the Red Deer side who scored first in the first period, but it was not a touchdown, only a field goal, which put the only points for Raiders on the scoreboard.
According to the account of the game given by the Cougars’ head coach Mike Roach, first-down runs from Austin Peterson and Josh Weeteringen of the Cougars and a 15-yard penalty against the hosts helped the Stettler side prepare the ground for their first touchdown, scored by Austin Peterson.
Nick Baharally was good on the convert and Stettler led 8 – 3.
The next Touchdown for the Cougars came when Austin Peterson stripped the ball from a Raiders running back and Josh Weeteringen recovered the ball and Stephen Zuk threw a 21-yard pass completion to Justin Fleischhacker, who passed the golden line. Nick Baharally converted once again sealing the 16-3 score for Stettler at the end of the first half.
The Cougar defense dominated the second half with Stephen Zuk having an interception, Ryan Gerl a fumble recovery, Ryan Coleman two sacks, and Maverick Wilford a pass knockdown. The Raiders got only three first downs in the second half.
The Cougars now advance to the Tier lll championship against the Hunting Hills Lightning of Red Deer with the game scheduled to start at 1 p.m. at the Great Chief Park on Saturday, Nov 6. The winner will advance to the Tier lll provincial semi-final in Calgary on Nov. 13.
The best for last
If the term “nailbiter” needs any definition, there is no need for any reference other than the final quarter of last Saturday’s home game of the peewee Panthers against the Huskies of Olds.
The game as a whole offered everything that one could expect from a football game: The thrill of competition, gentlemanly conduct, admirable sportsmanship and classy moves worthy of much higher levels of football.
The Panthers started the game with a lot of confidence but it was the visiting Huskies who scored the first touchdown early in the first quarter, using the empty corridor on the side of the field, but could not convert after the score.
The Panthers pulled themselves together quickly and responded with their own touchdown, thanks to the lightning speed of Russel Steen.
But it was the convert after that first touch down which would prove crucial for the Panthers to come out victorious at the end.
Kyle Lawrence threw a spectacular pass to find Tim Gardner at the back of the Huskies defence to add one point to the score to make it 7-6.
In the second and third quarters, the Panthers defense managed to hold the ball mostly in Husky territory. In both quarters, Brett Roper bulldozed his way through the Huskies’ defense a few times to get first downs with improved field position.
Tim Gardner scored the second touchdown and Russel Steen added a third one, making it 19-6.
But the Huskies refused to give up and stayed in the game to the last second. As soon as the fourth quarter started, the Huskies, thanks to the long strides of their tall and fast running backs, scored a second touchdown making it a one touchdown game.
And one touchdown, they did score just 24 seconds from time making the score 19-18.
It was Huskies’ turn to try a convert and they opted for a two-point attempt by kicking the ball. It was at that moment that Terrance Burks and Austin Rosland spectacularly blocked the kick allowing the Panthers to hold on to the one-point lead for the next 24 seconds.
Huskies lost the game but won the hearts in Stettler.
Head coach Gary Sorenson said it was a great result but also that the game had showed they had to contain the outside corridors.
“We are very happy with what they did,” Sorenson said of his players.
The Panthers now play Strathmore on Saturday, Nov. 6 for the consolation final of the league. The game is scheduled to start at 12 noon.
The winning side in this game will host Edmonton region’s winner for a place in the provincial championships in Calgary.