The Hunting Hills Lightning were unable to get revenge against the Foothills Falcons at Great Chief Park Friday.
Foothills took out the Lightning 42-7 last year in the Tier II regional final and they were victorious again 20-3 Friday in a high school football non-conference contest.
“We’ve played them seven times in the last few years, three provincial semis in a row. The difference with that team is if you make mistakes they capitalize,” said Hunting Hills head coach Kyle Sedgwick.
It was a late surge by the Falcons in the second quarter that proved costly for the home side.
Trailing 7-3, Hunting Hills took a gamble on third down deep in the Falcons territory but couldn’t find the end zone.
“I’m building character for our guys. It’s our second game. We’re playing some of the best teams in the province. I’m going to go for it. We have a capable kicker who could make those kicks,” Sedgwick said.
“7-3 game, I’m going to show my guys we have confidence in them. Not only our offence, but our defence.
“We pinned them, it’s still a high percentage play. They just make a couple plays coming down the field and that’s what they do.”
After they took possession, a deep pass advanced the Falcons to midfield with under a minute to play in the half.
Running back Payton Burbank followed that up with a 60-yard carry for his second touchdown of the game with just 53 seconds left in the second quarter.
With less than 10 seconds left in the half, Falcons quarterback Keaton Neish hit Tyson Hartle to push the lead to 20-3.
Neither team was able to score in the second half.
Sedwick said he liked the first half and hopes his team takes an important lesson away from the loss.
“For 22 of 24 minutes in the first half, we went blow for blow,” Sedgwick said.
“Compare that to last week where we had a lot of new starters with wide eyes. I was happy with this. We need these games. This has nothing to do with us going to provincials. It was a non-conference game and it’s the middle of September… if you want to be at the top, you have to be able to compete with these teams for 48 minutes.”
Saturday the Notre Dame Cougars will host the St. Joseph Celtics of Grande Prairie at 1:30 p.m. at Great Chief Park.
Next Friday, in the first all Central Alberta matchups, Lacombe will take on Lindsay Thurber at 4:30 p.m. and Hunting Hills will face off with Notre Dame at 7:30, both at Great Chief Park.