The Hunting Hills Lightning cannot wait for another crack at the St. Joesph’s Celtics.
The No. 5 ranked Lightning came within one penalty of upsetting the top-ranked tier II high school football team in the province out of Grande Prairie on Saturday night at Great Chief Park before losing 25-21.
With four minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Hunting Hills quarterback Brett Barrett hit receiver Tanner Olstead in the end zone for what appeared to the go-ahead score, but it was called back on one of the few holding penalties called all night. On the next play, Barrett threw again to the end zone, but this time was intercepted by St. Joe’s defensive back Carter Gordon.
Though it was just an exhibition game and does not count towards the standings, it felt like a lot more.
“This was the real deal here tonight, that’s the No. 1-ranked team for a reason, and that’s the emotion every football game should have,” said Lightning head coach Kyle Sedgwick. “We can’t hang our hat on that one penalty, we had lots of chances.”
Barrett did finish with one passing and one rushing touchdown while running Brandt Burzuk had the other major on the ground to open the second half. Linden Petersen caught Barrett’s touchdown pass.
The two teams traded scores all game while dishing out some big hits. It is the kind of game that has Sedgwick looking forward to a rematch.
“If we ever see them again, it’s the provincial final,” he said. “We needed that, now we have to reset our focus and make sure we get there by finishing our league play strong.”
The Lightning return to league play this Friday when they host the Lindsay Thurber Raiders at 7 p.m. at Great Chief Park.
• The H.J. Cody Lakers rolled to a 42-12 win over the Ponoka Broncs in Sylvan Lake on Friday.
Running back Landon Rosene had three touchdowns — two running and on receiving — for the Lakers while Michael Smyth, Chase Elwood and Kyle Eckenweller had a touchdown catch each.
Devon Fischer had a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown for the Broncs and Kellyn Pritchard added one on the ground.
Rosene finished with 153 yards on seven carries, including a 96-yard score, and one catch for 66 yards. Lakers quarterback Skylar Selk was six-for-10 for 150 yards four touchdowns and an interception.
The Lakers host the Stettler Wildcats on Friday at 4 p.m. while the Broncs host the Camrose Trojans on Thursday at 4 p.m.