Lightning 28 Lakers 7
In terms of staying close to the undefeated Hunting Hills Lightning, the Sylvan Lake H.J. Cody Lakers were right there at halftime Friday.
And then they weren’t.
The Lightning led 14-7 at the intermission, then struck for a pair of third-quarter touchdowns and pretty much stuffed the Lakers’ offence through the majority of the second half en route to a 28-7 Central Alberta High School Football League victory at Great Chief Park.
“Their star players were probably a little better than ours today,” said Lakers head coach Jeremy Braitenback, whose team fell to 3-3. “We were beat up, actually both teams were. They were just better than us today, bottom line.”
Lightning running back Stas McPhail scored three touchdowns and rushed for 138 yards on 17 carries. Quarterback Jon Boutin accounted for the other Hunting Hills major, barging over from the one-yard line midway through the first quarter following an interception by Shane Gasser.
McPhail capped a seven-play march — aided by rough play and facemask penalties to the Lakers — with a two-yard touchdown run with three minutes left in the opening half, and the visitors responded 95 seconds later when Kyle Winder scored from a yard out to finish a long drive.
But that was it for the Lakers, who racked up a large portion of their 228 yards of offence during the first half.
“Our defence was strong, like they have been all year,” said Lightning head coach Kyle Sedgwick, whose club improved to 6-0. “They (Lakers) were running on us pretty well in the first half and we had some different guys in there.
“Our defence settled down in the third quarter and our two touchdowns in the quarter took the run game out of their (Lakers’) arsenal.”
McPhail recorded his second major on a 13-yard run that was set up by a 53-yard punt return by Wyle Cunningham, and then scored on a two-yard run late in the third quarter.
The Lightning racked up 276 yards of total offence, including 241 on the ground. Boutin completed two of 12 passes for 35 yards, most of which were gained on Josh Loney’s 33-yard reception.
Lakers quarterback Chase Hoffman was good on seven of 20 passes for 108 yards. Tyler Ledwos was the top Sylvan Lake receiver with four receptions for 56 yards, while Winder rushed for a team-high 98 yards on 12 carries.
“We played a good game against Rocky on Tuesday (a 24-6 Lakers win) and got pretty banged up. We looked like a little M.A.S.H. unit here today,” said Braitenback.
The Lakers coach had counted on a stronger aerial attack from his team Friday.
“We’re young at quarterback and figured we needed to throw the football to be successful and it didn’t work out that way,” he said. “It was quite windy here, but I didn’t think it was too bad for a lot of the routes we had planned. Hunting did a better job of coverage than we thought they could and I give them credit for that.”
The Lightning were also bruised and battered, the result of Tuesday’s 24-19 win over the host Camrose Trojans.
“We had a physical game against Camrose, guys were beat up,” said Sedgwick. “We had guys playing new positions tonight and were trying to rest other players.
“We grew up a lot today. I had to be the stern father at halftime. I told the players that nobody felt sorry for them. They had to come out and make a statement and the two scores in the third quarter were huge.”