Cougars run into Rebels, suffer first bantam defeat

.

The Stettler Cougars fell behind 20-0 and went on to lose 28-12 to the Rocky Mountain House Junior Rebels in Central Football League bantam action Saturday in Stettler.

“We have to improve our tackling,” said head coach Mike Roach, whose Cougars dropped to 1-1. “We gave up too many long plays because of missed tackles. Our focus and intensity in the first half was lacking, so that is something we will work on this week in practice.

“Cody Calihoo will miss at least two weeks, so we need to replace a halfback and a linebacker this week, as well.”

The Rebels went to work early as they improved to 2-0.

“On their very first offensive play, Zach Hazen caught the Cougar pass defenders flat-footed and connected with Austin Riley Hare on a 55-yard pass and run to score a TD … 28 seconds into the game,” Roach recalled.

Rocky added two more touchdowns before halftime — both on Cooper Wood running plays. Hazen converted one of those touchdowns to put the Rebels up 20-0.

The Cougars rallied early in the second half as Andrew Shirley sprinted 46 yards to the end zone. Wood’s third touchdown extended Rocky’s lead before Stettler scored on a 30-yard run from Thomas Cassidy.

Cougars quarterback Jeremy Kirk completed two of eight passes for 10 yards.

Shirley gained 84 yards on eight carries, Calihoo made 11 carries for 71 yards, and Cassidy covered 88 yards on 10 carries.

Before suffering an injury, Calihoo also made seven tackles, while Christian Young, Austin Hatfield and Santiago Sierra each had multiple tackles for Stettler, as well. Shirley recorded an interception and a 26-yard return.

The Cougars head to Red Deer this Saturday to face the Hunting Hills Junior Lightning (2-0) at noon.

Last Saturday’s peewee game between the Stettler Panthers and Olds was cancelled because Olds was unable to field a team, so Stettler won the game by forfeit.

The Panthers visit the Strathmore Spartans this weekend.