In a thrilling football game from the beginning to the end, Wm. E Hay’s Wildcats managed to overpower visiting Cold Lake Royals 35-32 on Saturday, Nov. 13 to advance to the provincial semi-finals to be played in Peace River this weekend.
On a less happy note, the bantam Cougars had to end their campaign for a provincial title after a heavy 58-7 loss in Calgary.
Helped by the bright sunny weather, Wildcats began the game against Cold Lake with confidence and had several first downs before scoring their first touchdown, thanks to a rushing game performed by running back Landon Potter. The convert attempt by Wyatt Haustein was good and Wildcats led by 7-0 early in the game. Second touchdown by Braden Nelson and the successful convert by Haustein quickly brought the score to 14-0 towards the middle of the first quarter, when the Royals began to build up momentum.
After the visiting side scored their first touchdown in the 10th minute of the first quarter, it was tit-for-tat between the teams, with the lead changing hands a few times.
But when the game clock showed the the third minute of the final quarter, a touchdown by the visiting Royals, followed by a successful convert attempt left the Wildcats well behind.
Trailing 25-24 against the Royals who had gained confidence with spectacular passing play, Wildcats seemed to be at a loss for a few moments until Anton Stewart took to the stage and stole the whole show with a 62-yard rushing touchdown. A two-point convert attempt was good, putting Wildcats in the lead by seven points.
Wildcats defense held on tight and refused to leave open holes for the Royals quarterback to pass and juts two minutes before the end of the game, Wildcats secured a ten point lead by scoring a field goal from the 30 yardline of the Royals.
A last minute effort by the visiting side succeeded to bring a touchdown and a one-point convert, but it was too little, too late.
The Wildcats assistant coach Mark Siemens said the game was one where they could grab the opportunities offered by the mistakes of their opponents and turn them to scoring plays.
Siemens admitted that the fumbles of Royals gave them great opportunities and they could exploit them.
“In some ways we were fortunate because they had trouble in getting the ball from their center to the quarterback or to their punter,” said Siemens.
“This game was one where we took advantage of the chances which the opponent gave us.”
Siemens said the next game was a complete uncertainty for them as they did not know the team .
If the Wildcats win the game over Peace River, they will be Northern Division champions and play for the provincial title against the playing Southern Division