It was a nail-biter of a game, but as the minutes turned into seconds the H.J. Cody Lakers were able to secure the win over the Wetaskiwin Sabres.
The final score was 29-22 for the Lakers, despite a few close calls.
The game was very physical, causing a few injuries on the field, and even a few fumbles on both sides.
Jeremy Braitenback, head coach for the Lakers, said the team met the Sabres force well during the game.
“We were pretty well prepared to face the Sabres. There were mistakes made and everything, but I think we handled everything they threw at us,” Braitenback said.
The Lakers were the first to make it onto the scoreboard, with a seven yard run by quarterback Patrick Bennett in the first quarter.
Before the end of the first half the Sabres had pulled ahead with two touchdowns and a two point conversion, making the score 14-7.
With less than three minutes left in the first half of the game, a turning point came. Caleb Johnson was able to find a hole in the Sabres defence to run the ball back for a 70 yard punt return, which tied the game at 14-all.
“At the end of the first half was a big moment for the team. Johnson made a couple big plays at a really key moment,” said Braitenback.
Johnson made two big more plays in the first half, which brought the Lakers to the goal line taking the lead with only a second to go to halftime.
Coming back after the half, the Lakers defence worked hard to keep the Sabres from the end zone.
There were a few close calls during the third, where the Sabres were in the red zone, but the Lakers were able to keep them back from scoring at all in the third quarter.
The Sabres did pull ahead in the final quarter. Going in for a two-point conversion, the Sabres were ahead by one point, with roughly half of the quarter still to go.
With five minutes left in the game, Brett Zenert brought the ball home with a 24-yard touchdown, which was followed by a two-point conversion.
The minutes wound down, and the Lakers kneeled the ball to run out the clock and win the game.
Though the Lakers were prepared, Braitenback said they didn’t give them enough credit.
“We ready ready to cover No. 13 [Jake Gusse], but we didn’t cover him like we should have,” said Braitenback. “We also didn’t give enough credit to their quarterback. Those long, over-the-head passes were difficult for us.”
With one game left of the regular season, the Lakers have a 5-1 record.
Going into the playoffs Braitenback hopes to finish the season in second place. He says at worst, the team will finish in third place.
The last game of the regular season will be played in Drayton Valley on Oct. 19. The game will begin at 4 p.m.
Playoff games will be announced soon. If the Lakers place second in the league, it is likely the team will have home field advantage in the playoffs.