The HJ Cody Lakers football team finished the regular season in second place after a nail-biter of a game on Oct. 13 in Stettler against the Wildcats.
Stettler opened the scoring against the Lakers early in the first quarter. Eleven seconds into the quarter, to be precise, which was then followed up with the conversion point, giving the Wildcats an early 7 to 0 lead.
“Then we kind of fell asleep,” said Wildcats head coach Norbert Baharally.
By the end of the first quarter, the Lakers had scored two touchdowns and conversions, launching the Lakers past the Wildcats with a score of 14-7.
The opening of the second quarter saw another touchdown for the Lakers, resulting in a score of 21-7 over the Wildcats.
Towards the latter part of the second quarter, the Wildcats gained a touchdown and a conversion, making the score 21-14 Lakers.
The Lakers struck back early in the second half, though they didn’t capitalize on a conversion attempt, resulting in a score of 27-14.
A player for the Wildcats ran in a touchdown a short time later, keeping the game close. The Wildcats were unable to capitalize on the conversion attempt either, leaving them still trailing behind with a score of 27-20 for the Lakers.
Unfortunatley for the Lakers, both offence and defence came alive for Stettler in the fourth quarter. With 6:22 left in the game, the Wildcats made another big play with a touchdown and the conversion kick, and the game was tied at 27 points a side.
The Wildcats snuck in another touchdown with 41 seconds left in the game and again made the conversion, which put the Wildcats in the driver’s seat for rest of the short time remaining of play, with a score of 34-27.
“It was a good game,” said Lakers coach Jeremy Braitenback. “To finish second in the City League, we’re pretty proud of that.”
The Lakers had previously been playing in the Central Albrta Rural League, against smaller schools, but moved up to the City League this year.
“To be a smaller school and to be successful, it’s a David versus Goliath thing,” he said, adding that the team learned from its mistakes over the course of the regular season and the players improved every game.
With this second-place finish, the Lakers will play Hunting Hills in the league semi-finals on Friday, Oct. 28 at 4 p.m. on the HJ Cody football field.
Other teams within the Sylvan Lake Minor Football Association have also had a successful regular season. The Lions placed second and will be starting their playoff series on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 10 a.m. on the HJ Cody field. The Bears took home a fourth place finish and they’ll also be starting their playoff series on Saturday, at 1 p.m. on the HJ Cody field.