Less mistakes. More rewards.
That was the case Friday night for the Stettler Wildcats, who won their first game in two starts this season, beating the host Camrose Trojans 24-17 in Central Alberta High School Football League action under the lights.
“It was a good win for us,” said Norbert Baharally, coach of the 1-1 Wildcats. “It came at a good time right now.
“Certainly, both teams weren’t polished, but we were able to capitalize on some of their mistakes. And they did on ours, too. The interception that happened, (the Trojans) marched it in pretty quick. So they’re all right, too.
“It was a good game. It was a pretty evenly matched team. They had some good ball players that played spring football, as well, and a lot of their coaching staff coached up there with the Battle River Shock, as well.”
Baharally is part of the Shock coaching staff and a handful of the Wildcats play with that Camrose-based midget team in the spring season.
After losing their season-opener to the mighty Hunting Hills Lightning of Red Deer, the Wildcats got off to a strong start against Camrose. They led 14-2 at halftime.
“We had an early lead,” Baharally reported. “We played well on offence, moving the ball, and took advantage of some of their mistakes. We were able to turn that into a touchdown or two early in the game.
“But then, really, it just kind of went back and forth for a little bit. And their two scores came as a result of (turnovers) — one of them was just a deflection off our receiver’s hands and into their hands. They ran it back pretty close to the end zone and punched it in the next couple of plays. The other major touchdown that they scored on us was a big pass right toward the end of the game, with about 30 seconds left, when we had some of our new guys in the lineup.”
As for the Wildcats, the veterans stepped up to account for all of the scoring.
Stephen Zuk had two quarterback sneaks for touchdowns. Nicholas Baharally caught one touchdown pass on a catch-and-run.
Frank van Ommeren converted all three Wildcat touchdowns and kicked about a 40-yard field goal.
“It was a good distance — a nice kick,” said coach Baharally.
“(The Trojans) scored their points on a safety, a two-point conversion and their two touchdowns.”
The second week of the season gave the Wildcats a chance to gain more players and integrate them into game action.
“It’s still early,” Baharally said. “I don’t think we’re getting used to each other yet.
“The team that makes the least amount of mistakes right now is going to be the one — if you’re able to capitalize — that might come out on top.”
This Friday at 4:30 p.m., the Wildcats host the Wetaskiwin Sabres.
“This one will be a tough one for us,” Baharally said. “Wetaskiwin will be good. They’re 1-1 as well in our division. Whoever comes out of this will have maybe the front-runner (label) for this division, but we’ll see.”
Stettler and Wetaskiwin are in a division with Camrose, Ponoka and West Central of Rocky Mountain House.
Lacombe and Sylvan Lake play in the other division with the three Red Deer schools — Hunting Hills, Lindsay Thurber and Notre Dame.