By Stu Salkeld The Stettler Independent
Friday the 13th was not kind to the road-bound Stettler Wildcats, as they suffered a 53-14 loss last Friday to Drayton Valley’s Frank Maddock High School in high school football action.
Head coach Norb Baharally noted the lopsided loss came not only from Wildcat roster issues, but against a strong Drayton valley team.
“We came up a very good team that was well balanced with all three aspects, offence, defense and special teams,” stated Baharally Oct. 16.
“We had a couple of players that were not dressed for this game and we suffered two injuries and one potentially being season ending. Plain and simple we were outplayed from the opening whistle to the end of the game.”
Time of possession was also a problem for Stettler that night, as the Wildcat offense, so prolific earlier in the season, struggled against Drayton valley.
“Our offence sputtered, we were not able to consistently move the ball or even move the ball at time,” stated the head coach.
“We were unsuccessful in converting three third and short plays at pivotal points in the game. We were not on the field for much of the night.”
With a light bench and an offense struggling to sustain drives, the Wildcat defense was looked to hold the game.
“Our defense did not have their best game either,” stated Baharally.
“It is just unfortunate that both our offence and defense did not play well during the same game. We allowed a runner to rush for over two hundred yards on us.
“They had two players that we knew we had to stop and we had a game plan to do it but just could not execute it. The defense was on the field for most of the game and were very tired with our short bench.
“We were unable to make the critical stops on second and long and third and short when we needed them.”
The kicking game didn’t play much of a factor for either side. “No, special teams did not really play a factor in the game,” stated Baharally.
“Albeit, we attempted an onside kick that was not recovered and their attempt was successful when they attempted it. There was very little punting in the game from either team. I think maybe one punt each.”
Still, the game only had slight effect on the Wildcats postseason hopes, with a solid 4-2 season record with one game in hand. The Wildcats are still in the Tier IV top 10, dropping two spots to eighth place according to Football Alberta.
“We will be in the league playoffs,” stated Baharally. “We have one more regular season game left next week vs. Rocky Mountain House.
“We more than likely will end up second and will get a home playoff game, probably against Sylvan Lake. This will be determined for sure after next week.”