Starting Friday afternoon, Central Alberta will be a hub for high school football action.
The Football Alberta provincial playoffs get underway with 6-man play in Lacombe.
The number four ranked Rimbey Spartans will battle the Millwoods Christian Royals in the quarterfinal at 4 p.m at MEGlobal Athletic Park. Last season, Rimbey was the number one 6-man team in the province and earned a victory in the Alberta Bowl provincial final.
Saturday features a triple-header at Great Chief Park. The Sylvan Lake Lions kick off the action at 11 a.m., when they host the Edmonton Mustangs, in the Tier II Bantam Semi-final. The Lions knocked off the defending provincial champion Notre Dame Cougars last week in a thrilling contest at Setters Place.
Next up, the Lindsay Thurber Raiders will battle the Grande Prairie Warriors in the Tier I north regional semi-final at 1:30 p.m.
Week 9 Rankings show us huge shufflings in some, and lessser in others. The only new team this week is Peace Wapiti, Grande Prairie coming in at #8 in Tier 3.#football #footballseason #footballalberta #footballalta #rankings #highschool #highschoolfootball #alberta #playoffs pic.twitter.com/IMl1SImbrj
— Football Alberta (@FootballAlberta) October 28, 2018
The Raiders lost the city final to Hunting Hills, but had a 7-2 record on the year and are the eighth-ranked Tier I high school football team in the province. They also handily beat Grande Prairie 32-7 earlier this season on Sept. 15 in Edmonton.
“We’ll take a provincial championship over a local one. We like to fight and we like each other here and we battle. I told the kids, we have to go to provincials. We have to win two games to get to a final,” Raiders head coach Aaron Sheppard said.
“I’m a huge Central Alberta guy. I want us all to go to provincials and do well. We have Stetter and Sylvan (Lake) playing, two great teams and they’re going to make runs… We’re only going to be better by playing (Hunting Hills). I just told the guys to reload.”
In the Tier II south regional semi-final, the Hunting Hills Lightning will take on the Robert Thirsk Comets at 4 p.m at Great Chief Park. The Lightning are the fourth-ranked Tier II team in Alberta and are looking to advance to the regional final for the second straight season.
“We played them two years ago and I’ve seen a little bit of them. They’re doing O.K. in division two in Calgary and I think we got out of (our last game) healthy, which is the first time we’ve done that in a long time,” Lightning head coach Kyle Sedgwick said.
“We’re hosting here so that’s an advantage and we hope to get to the provincial semifinal for the fourth year in a row but it will be a tough test.”
— Byron Hackett (@RDAbyronhackett) November 4, 2018
The Sylvan Lake Lakers will play in the Tier III north regional semi-final against the Holy Rosary Raiders. They’ll kick off at 1 p.m, in Lacombe on Saturday. Sylvan Lake is ranked fifth in Alberta.
The Stettler Wildcats will travel to Sherwood Park and play the Ardrossan Bisons on Saturday in the Tier IV north regional semi-final. Stettler is the second-ranked ranked Tier IV team in Alberta.
A pair of Lacombe football squads will also play at home on Saturday.
The Lacombe Bantam Raiders will host the Lethbridge Jr. Cougars at MEGlobal Athletic Park at 11 a.m., in the Tier III Bantam semi-final. The Lacombe Explosion with play in the Tier III peewee semis against the Lloydminster Colts at 4 p.m.