Red Deer Advocate
The Stettler Wildcats played a rare Monday night game and carved out an 18-14 victory over the host Lindsay Thurber Raiders in Central Alberta High School Football League action at Red Deer.
Entering their bye week, the Wildcats ran their record to 3-2, while the Raiders slipped to 1-3.
Monday’s game was rescheduled after being postponed last week.
Stettler led 10-0 early in the second quarter on a 17-yard field goal by Elliott Mabbott and a 19-yard touchdown run by quarterback Morgan Loshny and a Mabbott convert.
The Raiders’ Greg Fowler scored and Brody Slagman kicked the first of his two converts to narrow the gap to 10-7 at the half.
Fowler scored again at 7:29 of the third quarter.
But the Raiders gave up a safety 36 seconds into the final quarter and, on the following kickoff, Anton Stewart brought the ball back 85 yards to put the Wildcats ahead 18-14.
“That safety hurt,” Fowler said. “It was a mistake and, every game, there seems to be one play that does us in.”
Raiders head coach Dave Smith said the safety was doubly costly.
“Not only did we give them the two points, but they scored on the kickoff,” Smith said. “It took away any chance we had of winning with a late field goal.”
Braden Nelson had another solid game for the Wildcats, finishing with 148 yards rushing on 21 carries.
“I’ve had a good year, but I’m not tops in scoring,” said the Grade 11 running back. “I get as much as I can, but I’m not getting into the end zone.”
“Our slotback is back this week and he gives us more diversity,” Nelson said of Ricky Armstrong, who played his first game of the season after recovering from a pre-season injury.
“We’re also passing a bit more and opening it up that way.”
The Wildcats are a relatively young team, but coming along.
“It’s taking some time to get there, but it’s coming,” Nelson said. “We were hoping there would be playoffs, but with two undefeated teams, it’ll be tough to make it.”
The top two teams will meet in the league final.
The Wildcats, though, are still gunning for the Tier 3 provincials.
“We’re fighting for that,” Nelson said.
Wildcats head coach Norbert Baharally knows his team is going in the right direction.
“We’re trying to do some things offensively and defensively so we’re not running guys both ways,” he said.
“We’ve achieved that so far, and it hurts at times. There’s growing pains, but we feel we’re getting there. We’re also getting healthy. We still have a some guys out, but we have a bye week and we should get a couple of our Grade 12s back, which will help.”
League action resumes Thursday with Sylvan Lake at Rocky Mountain House at 4 p.m. and Wetaskiwin at Lacombe at 7 p.m.
In Friday action, Camrose visits Hunting Hills at 4 p.m. and Lindsay Thurber goes up against Notre Dame at 7 p.m.