Hunting Hills Lightning running back Joe Hunt runs through a tackle from Noah Monchamp and Ethan Quance in the first quarter of high school city football action Friday in Lacombe. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Hunting Hills Lightning roll over Lacombe Rams

Lightning roll over Rams

Lightning 34 Rams 14

The defending Central Alberta High School Football League champs looked in midseason form in their city league opener.

Heading to the weekend after a dominant win last week over the Foothills Falcons, the Hunting Hills Lightning were the third-ranked Tier II high school football team in the province and showed why on Friday night.

Traveling down Highway 2 to Lacombe, the Lightning rolled over the Lacombe Rams 34-14 to kick off the city portion of the high school football season.

Still, Lightning head coach Kyle Sedgwick said he expected a more complete effort from his group.

“Very ugly. Ugly on our part. We didn’t rise to the intensity and physicality of Lacombe, so I give them a lot of credit for that. First conference game, it wasn’t good,” he said.

“I think we played so well last week for our first game, especially against that opponent who we have a history with. To be honest, we were pretty flat this week in practice and I might have cursed the guys a little bit because I wasn’t happy with the prep and it carried over to the game. Didn’t have energy. It’s a great learning experience.”

For Rams coach Brian Ross, it was also a lesson learned for his team.

“We were expecting some guys to be prepared and a couple of injuries bit us right before the game. It was tough to prepare for it that way,” he said.

“Once our linemen are able to figure some stuff out, that’s going to be our weakness for a while, we’re going to be okay.”

Hunting Hills took control early with a touchdown and Joel Demale added to the advantage in the second quarter.

With just 11 seconds left in the half, Mitchell Simmons hit Gabe Hiebert for a nine-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 16-7.

Undeterred, the Lightning got a big kickoff return by Logan Kendze and Daniel Bae hit a 15-yard field goal as time expired in the half.

“We gave up what seemed like 80 yards of penalties defensively on that series. We pinned them on the 13-yard line. Then penalty, penalty, penalty. It’s third and six and we have a bust and they float it over our guys head. Then more penalties,” Sedgwick said.

“So it was a momentum play, even though we just got the field goal. Eleven seconds on the clock, huge return and that kicker just started with us last week. It’s his second game of football.”

On their first series of the second half, the Lightning pulled away with a one-yard touchdown run by Joe Hunt.

Bryce Lang picked off Simmons pass on the next drive, but his fumble on the return gave the ball back to the Rams.

Lacombe used almost the entire fourth quarter for a nearly five-minute drive but failed to punch the ball in from the one-yard line on three straight plays.

At the start of the next drive, Lightning Quarterback Lucas Fuerbringer threw an interception from the one-yard line. On the ensuing play, Simmons connected with Zach Schwab for a 10-yard-score.

Fuerbringer made amends and put the game away with 80 seconds left, scrambling for a 20-yard touchdown on a bootleg.

In other high school football action, the Lindsay Thurber Raiders knocked off the Notre Dame Cougars 38-6.

Next Friday, the Lightning take on the Notre Dame Cougars and the Rams will host the Lindsay Thurber Raiders.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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