Kaidyn Puttick will have a lifetime of memories from his playoff performance.
The Lindsay Thurber Raiders tailback and linebacker scored four touchdowns as they cruised to a 55-10 victory over the Grande Prairie Warriors at Great Chief Park Saturday.
Puttick, along with quarterback Josh Campbell, powered the Raiders to a dominant and historic win in the Alberta Schools Athletic Association Football Tier I North Regional semifinal. It was the first time in 20 years the Raiders won a provincial playoff game.
“In this whole region for Tier I, there has only been two teams to ever win a provincial game. So, I’m super proud of our kids, something to hang their hats on,” said Raiders head coach Aaron Sheppard.
“Our team has only done it once and it was 20 years ago… super proud of our guys, they played very hard and I’m very happy.”
On the Warriors first play from scrimmage, a high snap floated past quarterback Jesse Gruending and Puttick pounced on it in the end zone.
“I think we needed something like that. Just to get us fired up. To make us think this was our game,” said Puttick, who figured it was his first ever four-touchdown game.
At 5:17 of the first quarter, Puttick was at it again with a 15-yard touchdown run. After two 20-plus yard completions by Campbell, Puttick punched in another score late in the quarter.
Playing linebacker on defence, Puttick intercepted the Warriors near their own 20-yard line late in the first half. Two plays later, Puttick punched in a three-yard score.
With 75 seconds left in the half, Campbell hit Tristan Ferguson on a seven-yard slant for another touchdown. Campbell completed 13 passes in the first half for over 200 yards.
Gruending scored the only Warriors touchdown of the game on a 35-yard scramble to end the half.
Raiders Will Moir had over 100 yards receiving in the open 24 minutes and also rushed for 35 yards.
Early in the second half, Campbell hit Alex Pennycook for a 26-yard score to extend the Raiders advantage to 41-10.
Campbell found chase Pack for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and Pack also scored on a one-yard run with a minute to go in the contest.
“He did really well. He’s been a stalwart all year. Only had one year of quarterback. Played a little bit in grade 9. He’s been our absolute backbone. Super happy for him,” Sheppard said.
“That was the seventh receiver that got a touchdown in this game. We do focus on Will (Moir) quite bit, but (Campbell) is working it around.”
Next week, the Raiders will take on the top-ranked Tier I Harry Ainlay Titans, who are also nationally ranked.
“Our team, I think we play exceptionally well as an underdog. We prefer that model. We’re comfortable in that area,” Sheppard added.
“There’s nobody guessing at the beginning of the year that we would win a provincial game. There’s nothing to lose at all. (Harry Ainlay) is a fantastic team.
“We have nothing to lose, they are a dominant team, they’ve been killing teams in the area. My guys are just going to walk in and play the best we can. There’s no pressure.”