Lindsay Thurber Raiders quarterback Sean Vandervlis scrambles out of the backfield as Hunting Hills Lightning players give chase during second quarter high school football action at ME Global Field in Lacombe. The two Red Deer teams were playing their first game of the season Friday. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Hunting Hills Lightning strike big in high school football season opener

The Hunting Hills Lightning certainly made a statement to open their high school football season on Friday in Lacombe.

At MEGlobal field, the Lightning put up 50 points on rival Lindsay Thurber in a dominant 51-20 victory.

Offensively, it took a few drives to work out the opening night jitters, but Hunting Hills found a groove and quarterback Brandon Rees finished the game with four touchdown passes and ran one in for good measure. The veteran pivot was nine-for-17 with 216 passing yards.

Lightning head coach Kyle Sedgwick said there are some areas of the game his team can improve on going forward, but for the opening game without any preseason play, he was happy with the effort.

“First half it kind of looked like an exhibition game. Pretty sloppy with assignments and some silly penalties. We made some plays on offence through air. Brandon Rees threw the ball very well. He threw a pretty good deep ball,” Sedgwick said.

“Defensively in the first half we were a little bit slow. Second half was good and defence played better. We had some big plays, we have to learn to sustain some drives a little bit more and chip away.”

Both Nathan Lavigne and Jordan Lenius caught two touchdown passes for Hunting Hills. Lenius scored on a 28-yard run and had four catches along with 97 yards receiving.

Lightning quarterback Layton Barisenkoff also hooked up with Zac Sanderson for a touchdown in the win.

Jan Boghong converted all his extra point attempts.

For the Raiders, quarterback Sean Vandervlis had a solid performance. He went 13-for-22 for 204 yards and connected with Cade Best and Max Arnold for touchdown passes. Best finished the game with eight catches for 123 yards.

Raiders other pivot Josh Campbell completed five of passes for 55 yards and found Cody Anglo for a touchdown.

Sedgwick noted that Lindsay Thurber battled right to the bitter end in the loss and will likely be an improved team come playoff time later this fall.

“Give them credit, they played hard right until the end,” Sedgwick said.

“They played hard and physical. They’re a young team and they’ve got a bright future. Not just next year, but as this season goes on they’re going to get better and they’re going to be a good team.”

Next week on Sept. 7 Lindsay Thurber will take on Notre Dame and Hunting Hills will face off against Lacombe on Sept. 8.

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