The Notre Dame Cougars football team entered the game Friday night against the Lacombe Rams with their playoff fate in their own hands.
And the Cougars took care of business with a 14-1 win over the Rams at Setters Place.
Head coach Ian Rattan said he thought his team redeemed themselves from the loss to the Hunting Hills lightning a week prior.
“They answered the bell. We were in a do-or-die situation we had to win to get into the dance. Stettler’s a hell of a team and we got to get ready to roll,” he said.
“It was just nice to see our kids respond. We were pretty down low last week and it was nice to see us respond and get an opportunity to play another week of football.”
The top four teams will make the playoffs with the Stettler Wildcats and the Sylvan Lake Lakers also securing their spots. The league semi-finals will happen on Friday, Oct. 28 with the league final the following week. The Rams finished the season 1-4 and will miss the postseason.
The Cougars took a 7-0 lead in the middle of the first quarter right before recovering the ball off the kickoff the very next play. The Cougars failed to score on the next drive but got into field goal range and missed the kick.
However, the Rams struggled to move the ball and fumbled on their own 20-yard line. The Cougars recovered and scored another touchdown before the end of the first half.
Other than a kick through the back of the end zone that gave the Rams a single point, neither team could get in the end zone in the second half.
Rattan said all year they’ve talked about keeping themselves focused on the task at hand every week not looking back or too far forwards.
“We haven’t played a complete game we just got to get better every single day,” Rattan said. “We’ve got to have a good couple weeks of practice and whoever we end up playing the first week of the playoffs is going to be a great team.”
Since the first week of the season, Rattan said the Cougars are more confident and after a few injuries a lot of the younger players are gaining experience on the field.
“We’ve got the opportunity to get those guys in and get some guys some meaningful reps, which has been great for us,” he added.