On Saturday, November 14th the Stettler Cougars hosted the St. Albert Fury in a Provincial Semi-Final. The Fury were the Capital District Minor Football Association, Tier ll champions and Stettler was the Central Football League champion. The Fury received the opening kickoff, but the Cougar defense forced St. Albert to punt. The Cougars were moving the ball, when they took an untimely penalty and eventually turned the ball over on downs. The first and second quarters played out much like the first two offensive series for both teams. The defenses did not allow either offense to get rolling. Finally, with 1:36 left in the second quarter, Braden Nelson, was sprung free for a 75 yard touchdown run. The two point convert was no good and Stettler led 6 – 0. The Cougars recovered a fumble with almost a minute left, but the time ran out, so Stettler led 6 – 0 at the half.
Stettler received the kickoff to start the second half and was unable to move the ball effectively. Once again they turned the ball over on downs. The Fury changed their offensive alignment to an overload and tried to power their way to a score. The Cougar defense appeared to be holding, but the line missed a shift by the Fury, and David Sam broke free for a 25 yard run that eventually led to Sam scoring from the one yard line. The Cougars blocked the convert and the score was tied 6 – 6. Stettler’s offense continued to struggle and the Cougar defense tried to keep the Fury offense in check. On a key third and long that would have given the Cougar offense great field position, David Moroz completed a 15 yard pass to Ben Graunke to keep the drive alive. As the Fury moved into Cougar territory they began to wear the Stettler defense down. David Moroz broke free on a 45 yard run after a Cougar defender missed his assignment. Moroz was pulled down on the Stettler two yard line. After two tries, Moroz was able to score the go ahead touchdown. The convert attempt was no good, so the Fury led 12 – 6. St. Albert attempted a short kick and they were able to get the ball back when the Cougar receiver was unable to recover the ball. They powered their way down field and David Sam scored St. Albert’s final TD with 2:41 left on the clock. Sam was good on the two point convert and the Fury led 20 – 6. Once again the Fury tried a short kickoff and once again the Stettler receiver was unable to cover the ball and St. Albert maintained possession. This time the Cougar defense held and Stettler’s offense got the ball back with just over a minute left on the clock. With only 36 seconds left in the game, Morgan Loshny connected with Ty Page on a 25 yard pass for Stettler’s final score. The convert attempt was wide and the Fury led 20 – 12. The Cougars attempted their own short kickoff, but St. Albert recovered the ball and was able to run out the clock.
St. Albert will now host the Calgary Wildcats in the Provincial Championship game.
Overall, the Cougars had a great season, but the loss was disappointing. We knew we had to play an error free game, but untimely penalties, missed assignments and turnovers definitely hurt us. Physically, we matched up well with St. Albert, but they won the turnover battle and that led to points against us. It was a hard fought game but both teams acted in a very sportsmanlike way.
The Cougars would like to thank all of our sponsors, parents, and fans for their great support throughout the season.