Lindsay Thurber Raider Maxwell Arnold carries the ball for a gain as Notre Dame Cougar Blake Cole lines him up for a tackle during first quarter high school football action in Lacombe Thursday night. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Cougars squeak out win over Raiders

Notre Dame 42 Lindsay Thurber 35

The Notre Dame Cougars’ running game was too strong for the Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School Raiders as the two teams battled on Thursday night.

Notre Dame walked away with a 42-35 victory after a back-and-forth game at ME Global Park in Lacombe.

The Cougars got off to an early lead when Josh Burke ran in for six points after a series of successful running plays on the team’s first drive.

It didn’t take long for the Raiders to answer back, also scoring a touchdown on their first drive of the game.

Raiders quarterback Sean Vandervlis brought his team to the Cougars’ three-yard-line with a number of completions, including a 32-yard reception. He would eventually run the ball into the end zone himself.

Vandervlis was a problem for the Cougars all night, said Gary LaGrange, Notre Dame offensive co-ordinator.

“He’s a heck of an athlete. He has a good arm and can scramble. If you put those two together, it can lead to some issues sooner or later,” LaGrange said.

Vandervlis finished with 282 passing yards to Notre Dame’s 20.

Later in the first quarter, quarterback Tristan Taylor was sacked 17 yards from the line of scrimmage and fumbled the ball.

LTCHS recovered the ball and took possession into the second quarter, where Vandervlis connected with receiver Maxwell Arnold for a 45-yard pass into the end-zone, but an offside penalty forced the play back. The team was forced to punt on downs after the next play.

After a couple traded possessions, Notre Dame’s Burke scored his second rushing touchdown of the game, putting the team up 13-7 heading into the second half.

Possession was traded back and forth through much of the third quarter, until Raiders running-back Wyatt Hawkes scored on a seven-yard run. The extra point was good, giving LTCHS a 14-13 lead.

That lead evaporated less than a minute later, when Notre Dame’s Aidan Vida ran for a 61-yard score. The Cougars converted on a two-point conversion, jumping ahead 21-14.

A couple plays into the final quarter, Burke scored his third touchdown for the Cougars to increase his team’s lead by 14.

Lindsay Thurber answered back quickly, when Vandervlis connected with Arnold again for a 66-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

The Raiders then recovered an onside kick and made it count as Vandervlis threw his third touchdown pass of the game, tying the game at 28.

Vida ran for his second touchdown of the game for the Cougars on the team’s next drive, putting his squad on top 35-28.

But the Raiders just wouldn’t go away, tying the game at 35 with just two minutes left when Vandervlis found Tristan Ferguson in the end-zone.

The Cougars’ running game just couldn’t be stopped as Vida scored his third touchdown of the matchup on a three-yard run, putting his team up by seven once again.

Despite a last minute push, the Raiders were unable to tie things up, and the Cougars walked away with a 42-35 win.

The Cougars finished the game with 483 rushing yard to the Raiders’ 154.

“They have a great running game and their offensive line is fantastic,” said Raiders coach Aaron Sheppard. “We passed the ball really well and it seemed like neither team wanted to do the other team’s schtick.”

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