It wasn’t the way the Wildcats envisioned their season ending, but they’ll have to be content with a solid third-place finish.
William E. Hay Composite High School’s senior football team ended the season on Thursday, Oct. 30 with a 32-14 win at home over the West Central High School Rebels from Rocky Mountain House.
Although the teams appeared to be evenly matched for most of the game, the Wildcats took off in the fourth quarter with three consecutive touchdowns, scored by Jeremy Kirk, Garrett Burns and Jordan Lane.
Coach Jon Campbell said the weather was a major factor, as the players faced cold temperatures and high winds for much of Thursday’s game.
“I think that affected both teams pretty evenly,” he said.
The Wildcats’ Austin Rosland began the scoring with a touchdown in the first quarter, giving the team the lead for the first half.
A safety and a touchdown briefly gave the Rebels an 8-6 lead. Thomas Cassidy gave the Wildcats another touchdown in the third quarter, but the Rebels regained a slight 14-12 lead near the quarter’s end.
The three touchdowns scored by Stettler in the fourth quarter — plus a two-point conversion by Cassidy — gave the Wildcats a decisive lead.
Campbell noted that the Rebels’ aggressive approach cost them as they were penalized a total of 105 penalty yards throughout the game, compared to just 35 yards for the Wildcats.
“Rocky came out physically very hard,” he said. “We just had to adapt to that.”
Campbell lauded the offensive efforts of players like Burns, Lane, Cassidy and Brycen Bainbridge, who nearly scored another touchdown for Stettler after making an interception late in the fourth period.
He said he was impressed by the combined efforts of the team’s Grade 12 players, for whom this was their last senior football game.
Campbell said the third-place finish was “not what we were hoping for,” but acknowledged that the team responded well to close the season.
The Wildcats failed to make the finals after losing 56-28 to Sylvan Lake on Oct. 23. The Lakers went on to defeat the Camrose Trojans 34-0 in the conference final on Nov. 1.