Caleb Johnson finds an opening in the Sabres defence and runs the ball for a first down in the third quarter of the game. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Four year streak broken in final minutes

The H.J. Cody Lakers lost to the Westaskiwin Sabres 20-18

It was a wet, cold and sloppy game of football for the Lakers as they battled for the championship title for the fourth straight year.

The H.J. Cody Lakers played the Wetaskiwin Sabres in a well and evenly matched game of football on Nov. 4. In the end, the Sabres were able to take the title with a two-point victory.

It was a difficult game on both sides of the field, as the snow made everything a little sloppy. Players slipped and slid on the field while blocking, running and tackling.

While the Lakers got off on the right start, with Caleb Johnson running the ball in for a huge touchdown on the Lakers first drive, the Sabres were competitive and just as determined to win the title.

Both teams went back and forth throughout the game, with both having a difficult time gaining the conversion after the touchdown.

“We fought really hard and I give our guys credit for not giving up,” said the Lakers’ Head Coach Jeremy Braitenback.

The Lakers fought for every yard, and made a few great plays, like stopping the Sabres on a third down for a turn-over just when it was needed.

There were a few plays that did not go in the team’s favour, and a good number of calls and penalties against the Lakers.

There were a couple missed calls for hits after the play, which got the crowd roaring and the coaches fired up. In one instance, the Lakers were given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, as a result of the coach yelling at the refs for a missed call.

“A lot of things just went against us. A lot of the calls went against us, the turnovers. We didn’t catch any breaks today,” Braitenback said.

Despite the set backs throughout the game, the Lakers did not give up, and made it a two-point game.

The Lakers had the final possession of the game, with enough time for a drive down the field to attempt a field goal.

Unfortunately they ended just 20-yards short of being able to attempt a field goal, with the Sabres taking home the gold medal, winning 20-18.

“In a two-point game like this you will look back and say if we had made that tackle, or made that play we would have won. We just didn’t.”

Having played the Sabres previously in the season, Braitenback says the team was well prepared for the game.

In this game in particular, the Sabres defence played a strong game and was able to better contain the outside run than they had in the previous game.

“We knew this would be no slouch of a game. We knew we would have to fight for it,” said Braitenback.

While the Lakers’s championship streak is over, the team’s season is not. Placing second send the Lakers as the second team from the zone to vie for the provincial title.

The Lakers will travel to Lethbridge, Nov. 10, to play Cardston.

Braitenback thinks the team will bring the same determination and drive to the provincial game.

“For some of them, this is their last chance to play, and they will want to make it as memorable as they can.”

The Lakers travel to Lethbridge Nov. 10 to take on Cardston in the South Regional Semi-Final. Kick-off at the University of Lethbridge Community Stadium is at 6 p.m.

“I want to thank the fans for their support and sitting out in the cold, as well as the staff at the town who cleared the field so we could play,” Braitenback said after the game.

 

Kyle Zenert darts around the Sabres defence for a gain of yards early in the third quarter. Photo by Megan ROth/Sylvan Lake News

Baylie Kennedy accepts his silver medal, after the Lakers lost the championship game agaisnt the Sabres, Nov. 4. The final score was 20-18 for the Sabres. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Patrick Bennet looks for an open man down field while under pressure from the Sabres. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Brett Zenert takes a hit but doesn’t go down during the championship game. Zenert continued to run the ball for a few more yards after this photo was taken. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Patrick Bennett and Ayden Wannop stop the Sabres on the one-yard line in the third quarter. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylan Lake News

Before the game started, the Lakers, lead by quarterback Patrick Bennett, came out onto the field to the roar of the crowd there to support the home team. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

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