The H.J. Cody Lakers took on the Lloydminster Holy Rosary Raiders on Saturday afternoon in provincial quarter final action.
Game play took off to a slow start in the first quarter with both team’s defensive operations shutting one another down. The Raiders would take the first touchdown near the middle of the second quarter to gain control of the game. The opposing team followed up to make it a pair of touchdowns shortly after leaving the scoreboard at 0-16 in the Raider’s favour.
With three minutes remaining in the second quarter, Laker’s defensive back, Cory Wilson made a miraculous interception shutting down the Raiders deep in their own end zone. The Lakers gained possession of the ball and the atmosphere quickly changed and the Lakers rallied against the invading Raiders. The Lakers headed to the line with the first snap seeing quarterback Patrick Bennett landing a long bomb in the hands of the Laker’s own Tyrese Hamilton.
Hamilton seemingly snatched the ball from a hoard of looming Raiders, evading all tackles and rushed the end zone for a 60 yard catch and run to bring home the Laker’s first touchdown of the game. A successful conversion left the hometeam down on the board with a score of 7-16.
Despite the Raiders quarterback having a cannon for an arm, Lakers defense continuously picked off his passes in the second quarter and third quarter.
Head Coach for the Lakers, Jeremy Braitenback said the team continued to pressure the quarterback throughout the game.
The Lakers gained three more points early in the third quarter to bring the score to 10-16. The Raiders rallied to notch another six points, with the Lakers taking an adjacent touchdown to end the third quarter with a score of 16-24.
Half way through the third quarter the skies would open and unleash a fierce November rain leaving both quarterbacks passing games out of the question. Both teams took to the ground and game of speed began.
Despite the Lakers ferocious rally in the fourth quarter the Raiders would take the win with a final score of 24-16.
Braitenback stated he was extremely proud of the Laker’s performance on Saturday adding both offense and defense were at the pinnacle of their season’s performance this Saturday.
With 18 out of 40 players graduating from the Lakers bench this season, Braitenback said this season will be one to remember. Having won their third consecutive league championship, many of the 18 leaving the Lakers this year had the chance to be a part of all three championships.
“When you only lose one game all season and it happens to be against a team like Holy Rosary - that’s something we can not only live with, but also be extremely proud of,” said Braitenback. “We are heading into next season with around 22 players who’ve had the chance to be apart of that championship team and we’re really looking forward to next year.”
He added Sylvan Lake Minor Football over all has had a very successful season with all teams placing in the top three in their respective divisions.
“Minor football continues to grow every year and the work being done at the Bears and Lions level is what sets the Lakers up for success,” said Braitenback. “We have a very strong program here in Sylvan Lake and it’s only going to continue to get stronger.”