It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but the Stettler Wildcats got the job done just the same last Thursday night as they defeated the host Wetaskiwin Sabres 30-19.
The Wildcats ran their Central Alberta High School Football League record to 2-0 and maintained their No. 1 position atop the Football Alberta rankings for Tier 3 schools.
Tyler Stewart scored three touchdowns and Parker Cassidy had the other as Stettler overcame the absence of injured seniors Morgan Loshny and Braden (Bob) Nelson.
Both are out with knee injuries suffered in Week 1 action, said coach Norbert Baharally.
“It was a back-and-forth game, and it shouldn’t have been,” Baharally said. “We had two (scoring) opportunities deep in (the Sabres’) end early in the game and we couldn’t finish it off.
“They had one player (Joel Bishop) that killed us virtually by himself. He’s a guy that played on the (Battle River) Shock team with us, so some of our guys were familiar with him.
“He ended up taking a punt return back for a touchdown, a kickoff return for a touchdown, and he caught a long ball for a touchdown against us. So he scored all three of their touchdowns.”
Neither team was able to establish momentum as each countered the other’s offence with more scoring.
“It was kind of back and forth like that the whole game,” Baharally said.
“Our defence played well. We gave up two special-teams touchdowns. Virtually, they didn’t have a running game against us, but again, one deep pass beat us for a touchdown.
“Offensively, we played well. We grounded it out pretty good on the running game. We had some guys that had good games. Tyler Stewart had a good game, Austin Peterson played well and Nicholas (Baharally) and Parker (Cassidy), in the backfield, were solid for us, as well.”
While missing key cogs in Loshny and Nelson, the Wildcats were fortunate another all-star senior, Ty Page, was able to play.
“Ty had a sore quad as well, but played a lot of the game,” coach Baharally said.
Loshny is expected to miss at least a month of action, while Nelson’s availability for this week’s game was listed as doubtful Monday.
The Wildcats host the West Central Rebels (1-1) of Rocky Mountain House at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the William E. Hay Composite High School field.
“They’ll be tough,” Baharally said of the Rebels. “They always have a tough team. They always have some players that are just big and strong. They always play well against us, so it’ll be a good game.
“We’re going to be in tough, especially if we’re still injury-riddled, without Morgan for sure and even without Bob. Those are two of our biggest offensive threats.”
STETTLER’S INTERNATIONAL FLAVOUR: The Wildcats dressed four German exchange students for last week’s game, and one of them (Henry Gruenwald) saw game action as a kicker.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get them in (this Thursday), in certain situations here, because that’s the last time they’ll get to play,” Baharally said. “They won’t be here our next game after that. They’re pretty athletic. They play soccer, and one of them is very fast, so we’ll see if we can get a deep ball to him.”