Wildcats 18 Raiders 14
The Lindsay Thurber Raiders coaching staff made an effort this season not to use Greg Fowler on both sides of the ball.
That did take away some of their explosiveness on offence, but they didn’t want to wear him out.
“My coaches hope I go on to the next level and they felt my best chances would be at corner,” said Fowler, who would like to try out for the University of Calgary Dinos next season.
But Monday the Raiders felt they needed Fowler’s energy and talent on offence and he came within a whisker of giving them a victory over the Stettler Wildcats.
Fowler scored on his first run and finished with a pair of touchdowns. He was also stopped on the one yard line on a third-and-three gamble with just over a minute remaining in the game.
The Wildcats’ defensive stand gave them an 18-14 victory in Central Alberta High School Football League play.
“I was right there, but they’re big and strong,” said Fowler, who scored on a 58-yard run on his first touch of the season and later added a major on a one-yard plunge.
He finished with 104 yards rushing on 11 carries.
“I’ve been eager to play it (tailback) again, but we’ve had some good backs,” said Fowler, who’s played both ways most of his high school career.
Raiders head coach Dave Smith knew Fowler would be a major asset on offence.
“We needed spark and he gave us that and spirit.
“This first touchdown run showed his will power and gave us all a boost.”
Smith would have liked to see Fowler make that final yard in the final quarter.
“But they play the game too and have a good sized team.
“Our offensive line is improving all the time, but when it gets down there it’s a matter of experience.”
The Wildcats ran their record to 3-2 while the Raiders slipped to 1-3.
The ‘Cats 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.
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.
However, 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 . . . it was a mistake and every game there seems to be one play that does us in,” said Fowler.
“It seems a safety always comes back to bit me,” said Smith.
“Not only did we give them the two points, but they scored on the kickoff.
“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. I get as much as I can, but I’m not getting into the end zone,” said the Grade 11 back, who is getting a bit more room to run as the ‘Cats are getting healthy.
“Our slot back (Ricky Armstrong) is back this week and he gives us more diversity,” said Nelson.
“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,” said Nelson.
“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.
Still the Wildcats should make the Tier III provincials.
“We’re fighting for that,” added Nelson.
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. while on Friday Camrose visits Hunting Hills at 4 p.m. and LTCHS takes on Notre Dame at 7 p.m.
— copyright Red Deer Advocate
— copyright Red Deer Advocate