The cold and snow doesn’t bother the H.J Cody Lakers who put up an impressive fight during the football team’s home opener, Sept. 13.
Despite the cold temperatures and the unexpected layer of snow, the Lakers won the second game of the season serves the visiting Ponoka Broncs.
With a score of 32-14, the Lakers are currently sitting at a 2-0 season, which Head Coach Jeremy Braitenback says is a good thing considering how young the team is this year.
“I think we have only six or seven Grade 12s on the team this year, out of a team of 40,” Braitenback said.
With such a young team, mistakes are bound to be made. This was especially true in the Sept. 13 home game, which many described as messy.
The Lakers had many penalties against them in the first half, with the team accumulating technical and personal misconduct penalties throughout the first two quarters.
Braitenback says the team will be working on becoming better as a team and will see the penalties against become less and less as the year goes on.
“It’s all about discipline,” said Braitenback. “At half time we had a talk about being more focused and disciplined on the field, and I think that really helped.”
The Lakers offence was dependant on running back Warren Stewart-Brown, last year’s offensive player of the year for the Lakers.
Stewart-Brown carried the ball 19 times over the course of the game for a total of 200 yards. He averaged 10.5 yards per carry.
One of those impressive runs by Stewart-Brown was a 67 yard touchdown in the second quarter of the game.
“We dominated on the line and we were able to run the ball inside with Warren quite a bit,” said Braitenback.
Braitenback called the Thursday night game power versus finesse. The Lakers drove down the middle on offence, while on defence the team had to worry about one particular player from the Broncs.
No. 4 with the Ponoka Broncs, Jared Bussiere, gave the Lakers a hard time as he managed to get around the home team’s defence multiple time, including twice for a touchdown.
“We managed to, not stop, but slow down No. 4 on the visiting team. He is really a very talented player,” said Braitenback.
There were mistakes to be had on both sides, partly due to the sudden onset of winter.
There were a number of fumbles and missed passes, something Braitenback hopes to look at before the next game.
“The [game] doesn’t lie. So we’ll go back and say ‘Hey, look at the film, look at the mistakes including the discipline fouls, and clean them up.”
Looking towards the rest of the season, Braitenback wants to work on the team’s passing game. Lakers Quarterback Dax Bylsma attempted 12 passes during the Sept. 13, only five of those passes were completed.
Defensively, Braitenback says the team also needs to work on stopping the outside run, as the Lakers were “a little susceptible on the defence.”
Braitenback says a team as young as the Lakers are bound to make mistakes, especially early in the season. However, he hopes to see the players grow and continue to improve throughout the season.
“We are going to make mistakes early in the year, as long as we can learn from those and by the end of the year not make those, and rely on our skill and our passion we will be fine,” said Braitenback.
The H.J. Cody Lakers will once again be playing at home on Sept. 20 against Stettler. Kick-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.