The energy around the HJ Cody School football field rose as Lakers player Landon Rosene made his team’s first touchdown within minutes of the start of provincial quarter finals against the Cold Lake Royals on Saturday. Later, Chase Elwood scored the team’s final touchdown to secure a score of 22-9 and send the Lakers to semi-finals.
The result is just what the Lakers were looking for, according to head coach Jeremy Braitenback. He praised his players for remaining mentally strong throughout the game.
“It doesn’t matter what the score is, they are supposed to play like the game is on the line — as if it’s the beginning of the game,” he said. “It gets tougher with every step you take, and you’re playing the champions from another league who have defeated somebody else.
“You have to play like every game is going to be your last.”
Braitenback added he feels his players’ strong commitment in practice has benefitted them in games this season.
“We are not the same team we were at the beginning of the year,” he said. “We’re taking them to their maximum potential, and if it’s not good enough to be the best in the province, that’s okay, because it’s pretty darn close right now. Were very proud of everything we’ve done.”
The Lakers will head to Whitecourt for provincial semi-finals on Saturday (Nov. 15).