The Stettler Bantam Cougars, are going on to play Lacombe under the lights in the league finals this Friday, Nov. 6, a rematch of a game that several years ago had the teams playing in a blizzard.
The Cougars earned their right to battle the Lacombe team after defeating the Spring Bank team on their home turf.
“It was an early morning for the team to make the trip south, but the Cougars did not let that hold them back,” Laurie Myshaniuk, a team spokesperson, said.
The team eked out a 31-20 win, with the Cougars taking the lead early and managing to keep a few steps ahead.
“Both teams played reasonably well, but in the end, a couple of key stops by our defence and a timely touchdown in the fourth quarter was just too much for Springbank to overcome,” Mark Neitz, coach, said.
Neitz said the team is in good shape for the 7 p.m. game against Lacombe on Friday.
“Most of our boys are healthy and in the lineup after an injury-prone season, and we are now preparing and putting in some new systems to content with Lacombe’s high-powered offence,” Neitz said.
“We’re going to match up really well against them and it should be a good tilt.”
Panthers season comes to close
The season may be over for the Stettler Panthers, but the Peewee squad’s accomplishments have left their coach proud.
The team played first place Sylvan Lake over the weekend, travelling west for the final game of the regular season. There, they fought a tough battle with the physical team and came up a bit short, coach Ernie Shirreff said.
“The score isn’t indicative of the game,” Shirreff said of the 28-8 tally. “It was a scrum, a very physical, hard-hitting battle.”
Sylvan Lake, first place team “for a reason” according to Shirreff, had dealt the Panthers its only other loss in the season, and they got the first touchdown in this game, too; but the ensuing kickoff, Carson Mottus got his hands on the ball and just ran for it, all the way from the 30-yard-line to score a touchdown for the Stettler side. Nick Deaver scored points on the convert, and the game was tied until the third quarter, when Sylvan Lake began to beat down the Panthers defense.
“We started taking hits and were a bit battered,” Shirreff said. The lineup at the end of the game, due to injury, was looking a bit odd.
Despite the loss to Sylvan Lake knocking them out of the finals, making it to the end as they did has left Shirreff proud, especially given that the team is mostly first-year footballers.
“It’s a hell of an accomplishment,” he said.