Raiders 21 Rebels 7
The Lindsay Thurber Raiders don’t have the size of a lot of teams in the Central Alberta High School Football League, but they just may be the fastest team in the league.
On defence that’s especially true which played a major role in their 21-7 victory over the West Central Rebels of Rocky Mountain House Friday at Great Chief Park.
The Raiders didn’t give the Rebels an opportunity to gain any momentum.
“When we get off the bus ready to play with intensity we can play with any team in the league,” said Raiders defensive coordinator Devon Hand. “Today we got off the bus believing we could do it. We executed and played at full speed.”
The Raiders held the Rebels to 28 yards of total offence in the first half as they grabbed a 15-0 lead. Overall they limited the much bigger Rebels to 145 yards on the ground and one yard through the air.
“We play a pressure defence where we bring a lot of hats and cancel the gaps and let our athletes to the rest,” added Hand. “If the guys don’t show up and execute it will backfire. But if we’re coming at full speed and making the plays we give the ball back to the offence and allow them to make the plays.”
Hand spent time earlier this week looking at game film and setting up his defence.
“We looked at their offence and it’s geared to getting outside. We knew if we could fill the gaps on the outside before they could we could let our athletes come up from behind and clean up.”
The return of Brody Slagman to the defence after a slight injury was important, said Hand.
“I believe he’s the best perimeter defender in the league. He’s excellent at keeping contain and with the pressure defence you need that.”
The Raiders also created a number of turnovers as they forced four fumbles and recovered three of them.
Two fumbles came in the second half when it appeared the Rebels would make a game of it.
The Rebels Dylan Bowersock scored a touchdown and Chris Soodsma converted at 9:02 of the third quarter to narrow the gap to 15-7. The Rebels recovered their second straight short kickoff, but on the third play lost a fumble.
“Fumbles and penalties hurt us,” said Rebels head coach Vance Curtis. “For whatever reason we were uptight and it showed. The third quarter we twice got short kickoffs and had field position and both times shot ourselves in the foot. Once on a bad snap and once on a fumble”
Curtis added he was also surprised at how fast the Raiders were as a team.
“And they also had a bit more size than I thought. Plus their line played very well. They controlled the line of scrimmage when they had to.”
Elliot Mahood gave the Raiders the lead at 1:04 of the second quarter on a one-yard run with quarterback Wilson Lougheed connecting with Blake Draper on a 12-yard pass play at 4:01. Slagman converted both, added field goals of 20 and 19 yards in the fourth quarter and kicked a single on a wide field goal in the second quarter.
“The idea was to get the lead and keep it and it worked well tonight,” said Raiders head coach Dave Smith. “We gave them the ball in the third quarter, but we bounced back, created some turnovers, and then ground the clock when we needed to.”
Greg Fowler led the Raiders with 106 yards rushing on 17 carries while Mahood had 53 yards on nine tries. Soodsma had 98 yards on 13 carries for the Rebels.
• The Hunting Hills Lightning took a major step toward finishing first in the league, and hosting the league final, with a 44-20 victory over the Sylvan Lake Lakers in Sylvan Friday.
The Lightning ran their record to 6-0 and need just one win in their final two games to wrap up top spot. The Lakers dropped to 6-1.
The Lakers led 13-10 at the half with Hunting Hills grabbing a 16-13 lead after three quarters.
Mark Beingessner led the Lightning, scoring on runs of three, one and 20 yards while Ashton Hall, on a 20-yard pass from quarterback Scott Pearson, and Matt Russell, on a fumble recovery, added touchdowns. Shane Gasser kicked field goals of 23, 21 and 16 yards, three converts and a single.
Bud Kriekle, on a 25-yard pass from quarterback Chase Hoffman, and Brad Huhnold, on a seven-yard run, scored touchdowns for the Lakers while Alistair Smith kicked 32 and 20 yard field goals and two converts.
Beingessner finished with 150 yards rushing on 23 carries while Huhnold had 102 yards on 14 carries.
In other league play Lacombe downed Camrose 22-0 in Camrose.