Stettler Wildcats played a consistent game as they defeated Sexsmith Sabres in Grand Prairie, 27-14 this past Saturday, Nov. 19.
As they prepare for the provincial championship against Bow Valley next weekend, coaching staff are looking to iron out weaknesses and build on the strengths to ensure that the Wildcats are in their best form as they take on the Cochrane high school team.
Even though the weather was not the most conducive, Wildcats were determined to make it to the next round, especially after losing the league championship final earlier this month to Sylvan.
“The game was played in a very cold, snowy and miserable environment on Saturday,” said Head Coach Norbert Baharally. “This is what I call the ‘equalizer’ for both teams because neither teams were able to perform to the best of their abilities with snowy and icy conditions on the field and a windchill factor that brought the temperature down to about minus 14.”
According to Baharally, his team had been practising all week on the snow-covered field in the cold getting ready to play in the Northern Finals.
“Our offence continued to play well putting enough points on the score board to give us a comfortable lead throughout the game,” Baharally said. “Again our special teams had a great game with our punt and punt coverage team (forced and recovered a fumble), our field goal team kicking a field goal at a crucial time late in the game to give us our 13-point lead.”
Defensively, the Wildcats had some very key stops at critical times when they were needed the most.
“Our defence also scored two safeties for us during the game,” Baharally added.
Carson Neitz had another strong game, running for a TD and throwing for a TD despite the extreme cold that had begun to affect the players all around.
Teron Garbutt was taken out of the game early in the third quarter with a sprained ankle and the two running backs, Cooper Smyth and Kam Bainbridge, did a phenomenal job filling in and running the ball for the team.
“We also suffered a few other injuries and hope that these players will be ready for Saturday’s game,” Baharally said.
Among the injured players are Noah McKay – ribs, Ty McCann – finger, Keegan St. Denis and Will MacDonald – suspected concussion.
“We will continue to prepare for the Tier IV final in the same way that we did last week,” Baharally said.
Monday was a day off the field for an extra day of rest and recovery as well as studying film of the opponents and reviewing the Sexsmith game film as well. Tuesday the team would be working on any of their offensive and defensive systems that they will be running on Saturday. Wednesday will be their hitting and tackling day with some offence and defence review. Thursday will be the special teams practice with some more offence and defence built in.
“We will be leaving Friday morning to go to Calgary for our final walk through as a team at Hellard Field from noon to 1 p.m. in Calgary,” Baharally said. “We will be facing an opponent in the Bow Valley Bobcats from Cochrane, that we are not familiar with at all, and we’re hoping that we get some information that might be helpful in our preparation.”
Stettler Wildcats will be playing for championship on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 11 a.m. at Hellard Field in Calgary.