SYLVAN LAKE — The weather conditions and the Cold Lake Royals defence left the Sylvan Lake Lakers with one option in Saturday’s provincial Tier 3 North Regional high school football semifinal.
So, like most good team do, the Lakers used their out card as quarterback Skylar Selk passed for 227 yards and one touchdown in a 22-9 victory over the visitors.
“We’ll take it. I guess it was kind of an ugly win,” said Lakers head coach Jeremy Braitenback.
Except that Selk’s passing yardage was anything but unattractive on a cold, windy day that featured snowflakes before the contest was complete.
“I think that’s kind of what the game dictated, that we had to throw,” said Braitenback. “They (Royals) stopped our running game so we had to pass and we completed enough to get some points. And the defence did a great job and held on for us.”
The Lakers never trailed in the game, and in fact grabbed a permanent lead when Landon Rosene returned the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.
“We should draw that up every game,” Braitenback joked.
But seriously . . .
“We’ve worked on that all year, but nobody we’ve played has been able to kick the ball deep enough,” said the Lakers sideline boss. “This was the first time it all came together and it didn’t hurt that Landon Rosene was returning, as well.”
Rosene was also a major threat through the air, hauling in six passes for 96 yards. Tyrese Hamilton led a Sylvan Lake ground game with 28 yards on four carries.
The Lakers coughed up a punt single in the first quarter, then recovered a Cold Lake fumble at the Royals’ 31-yard line 3:08 into the second quarter and got into the end zone four plays later on a five-yard run by Hamilton.
Royals quarterback Justin Hodinsky got his team back into the game two minutes later, running 40 yards for a touchdown that didn’t include a convert.
“We didn’t really know much about their team. We kind of knew that their quarterback could run and that #36 (Ivan Boychuk) was a good linebacker,” said Braitenback. “Their quarterback wasn’t a great passer today, though. He was more of a threat with his feet and if he had run more I think we might have been in trouble.”
As it was, Hodinsky ran for 124 yards on nine carries and completed eight of 30 pass attempts for 100 yards, but didn’t produce another score for his team.
The Lakers jumped out to a 22-7 lead when Selk, from the one-yard line, hit Chase Elwood in the end zone late in the third quarter.
The Royals scored a safety six minutes into the fourth quarter and then worked down to the Lakers’ two-yard stripe with just over two minutes remaining. But Elwood intercepted Hodinsky’s throw into the end zone and the winners ran out the clock.
Elwood, a defensive end/receiver, also knocked down a pair of passes and recorded a sack.
“We kind of use him around the goal line because of his height,” said Braitenback. “He’s a big-play kind of guy. He was last year’s league rookie of the year so we have him next year as well.”
The Lakers will travel to Whitecourt to face the Cats in this Saturday’s Northern Tier 3 final.
“We don’t know much about them, either,” Braitenback said Sunday. “Expect that their record (7-3) and their game yesterday (52-7 North semifinal win over St. Albert) says they’re going to be a pretty tough opponent.”
l The Hunting Hills Lightning were 28-7 losers to the host Okotoks Foothills Falcons in a Tier 2 South semifinal Saturday. Details were unavailable.
l The Olds Spartans defeated the Drumheller Titans 34-19 in a Tier 4 South semifinal and will take on the host Willow Creek Cobras this Saturday.
l The Rimbey Spartans thumped the Edson Holy Redeemer Rebels 59-27 in six-man regional action and will face the Ecole Desroscher Glaciers of Jasper in the North final Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Lacombe.
l The Sylvan Lake Bears mauled the visiting Bonnyville Renegades 64-0 in the provincial Tier 3 peewee championship game Saturday.