It was quite the turn around for the H.J. Cody Lakers Friday evening from the exhibition game the week before.
On Oct 12 the Lakers met the Rocky Mountain House Raiders on the gridiron on won with an outstanding score of 42-1. The week prior the Lakers played an exhibition game against Lindsay Thurber and were nearly shut out with a score of 41-1 for Lindsay Thurber.
Lakers Head Coach Jeremy Braitenback said the loss showed the team what they needed to work on with only a few games left in the regular season.
“It is looking like we are going to end the season in second place, which isn’t too bad considering how young we are as a team,” said Braitenback.
Looking at the score for the Lakers, one wouldn’t be able to tell the team had more to battle against than just the Raiders.
The game on Oct. 12 was cold with a bit of snow and wind so strong Environment Canada had issued a wind warning.
Thought none of that was particularly an issue for the Lakers.
“We went into this game and just ignored the weather,” said Braitenback. “We played as if there was no adverse weather.”
While the score was definitely in favour of the Lakers, Braitenback says there is still plenty for the team to work on.
In particular he would still like to see the team make the big plays. The Lakers are fairly consistent in gaining small yards on play after pay. However, the big plays are not quite as consistent.
“We really need our play makers to start making those big plays,” Braitenback said.
“We started to see it this game, but we need more.”
The Lakers made two big plays during the Oct. 12 game, both during the third quarter.
Tyson Attwood made a huge play for the Lakers with a 43-yard kick return. Tatted also scored a touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter.
With less than two minutes left in the third quarter Rees Degenhardt ran the ball in for a 25-yard touchdown.
Attwood and Degenhardt were joined by other touchdown recipients Warren Stewart-Brown, Tristan Loewan and Connor Langford.
“We also made our conversion this game. We made every conversation we came up to,” said Braitenback.
At the beginning of the season the Lakers were participating in a little experiment. The team was using a rugby player as a kicker, using a drop-kick instead of a place-kick.
Braitenback said the experiment didn’t exactly work out as envisioned, and the team returned to the traditional kicker for the point-after conversion.
The Lakers are a young team, with the majority of players students in Grade 10 and 11. As such one of the goals the team had for the season was to grow better each game.
Braitenback said he has seen his team grow and continue to grow as the season comes to an end.
With league playoffs in sight and provincials just beyond, Braitenback wants to see the team continue to grow and get better each week.
“We want to make it to provincials and be competitive with the other teams we meet.”
The Lakers have one last game of the regular season which will be played at the Norm Brown Field in Wetaskiwin against the Wetaskiwin Sabres.
Following the Oct. 19 game, with kick-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m., league playoffs are expected to begin.