The Hunting Hills Lightning are off to the finals after overwhelming the Lindsay Thurber Raiders Thursday night.
The two teams met for the playoff game at ME Global Field in Lacombe, where a dominant first half carried the Lightning to a 30-7 win over the Raiders.
Brandon Rees got the Lightning on the board first, running for a two-yard touchdown about three minutes in.
With three minutes left in the first quarter Logan Clarkson caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Rees.
Hunting Hills kept scoring in the second quarter. Jan Boghong kicked an 11-yard field goal less than two minutes in.
A pass was thrown to Lightning receiver Nathan Lavigne in the endzone a few minutes later. Lavigne and a Raider defender battled over the battled over the ball, which bounced off their hands twice. Lavigne was able to fend off the defender and make the grab, recording his team’s third touchdown of the game.
Lindsay Thurber quarterback Sean Vandervlis got his team on the board with a couple minutes left in the half, running the ball 12 yards into Hunting Hills’ endzone.
The Lightning answered back before the end of the quarter when Logan Clarkson ran 38 yards for a touchdown.
At halftime Hunting Hills led Lindsay Thurber 30-7.
Kyle Sedgwick, Lightning coach, said the opening half was the difference in the game.
“Our first half was probably our best first half all season offensively, defensively and on special teams,” Sedgwick said.
Neither team was able to get the ball into the endzone during the third quarter, so the Lightning carried that lead into the fourth.
The Raiders started the quarter with the ball around midfield. The team charged down the field and had a chance to score; however an endzone interception from Hunting Hills’ Jordan Lenius stopped the drive.
Both sides were stiff defensively through the rest of the quarter and the game ended 30-7.
Hunting Hills’ Rees said he was at a loss for words after Thursday’s victory.
“It feels so amazing,” Rees said. “This is my first year where I was the starting quarterback all season so I hope we go all the way.”
Aaron Sheppard, Raiders coach, said he was proud of his team’s performance despite the slow first half.
“It was a great second half – we fought our butts off. It’s just too bad we struggled in the first,” Sheppard said.
Hunting Hills’ opponent in the finals will determined Friday night when Lacombe plays Notre Dame at ME Global Field.