The H.J. Cody Laker football team are officially zone champions for the third year in row.
After beating Camrose last week, the Lakers came into a game versus Stettler that was going to be a tough test considering the Lakers won their last meeting with the Wildcats 15-14 on a last second punt through the end zone. After having a near-identical first half, the Lakers would pull away with a 40-yard bomb from kicker Johnny Payne. The Lakers would end up taking the zone championship 33-14.
Coach Jeremy Braitenback was happy to make it through the game against Stettler with a solid performance.
“It was hard fought – that’s for sure,” he said “We really broke out with the field goal Johnny made and our defense wore them down.”
The Lakers found huge success with running the ball after Stettler came out playing the pass well.
“Especially with the weather this time of year, the run game is really valuable,” Braitenback said. “Today we tried passing and Stettler was prepared so we switched to the ground.”
Part of the success all year with the running game has been #27 Tristen Koller, a Grade 12 senior who has been with the Lakers for all three years of their championship run.
“I get quite a few carries throughout the game but it is the whole team that carries us to the end and allowed us to be here,” Koller said. “Our linemen have been making huge blocks and our wide receivers have been huge. It’s great to win in my senior year.”
The Lakers also managed to stay away from the flags, as discipline was an issue the previous week against Camrose.
“We had a couple calls but that was the least penalized we have been all year,” Braitenback said. “We talked about our discipline so that is awesome.”
With the win, the Lakers move on to the provincial 3A championships. They will play their first game at home this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at H.J. Cody field against Holy Rosary Lloydminster.
“We got to the provincials, we are playing the best of the best and I know we can compete,” Braitenback said.
He added he wanted to thank the huge crowd that came out to the league championship game against Stettler and hopes even more will come out and see the Lakers in the provincial quarter finals on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.