A victory against Notre Dame Jr. Cougars means Sylvan Lake Lions bantam football team is one game closer to league finals.
The Lions defeated the Cougars 54-36 in Sylvan Lake Saturday, in a game that saw them let their 18-point lead slip before half time.
“We were up 24-6 after the first quarter, and then we blew it,” said head coach John Kriekle. “We fell apart and at the half we were down 28-24.”
Kriekle felt his players, at that point, weren’t playing to their full potential, and were making errors that could have cost them the game.
“It was horrible to watch, the mistakes we were making — just mistakes that compounded,” he said. Dropped passes and fumbles were concerning, he added.
Following their half-time talk, the Lions then came out strong in the second half and scored a quick touchdown.
A strong defensive performance in the second half helped secure the victory, which set the Lions up for their next game away against Lacombe on Saturday.
Lacombe has been the top team in the league for the past five years, according to Kriekle, and he knows his team is facing their greatest challenge of the season.
“They’ve got a good program,” he said. “They’ve got big kids, and fast kids, and they’re a very well coached team, too.”
Nonetheless, Kriekle feels that his team has a good chance of winning the game, should they play to their full potential and avoid making mistakes like they did against Notre Dame.
At press time, several Lions players were sidelined by injuries, but Kriekle said most of them should be back in time for the game against Lacombe.
Practices during the week have allowed his team to prepare for Saturday’s test, which will determine the fate of their season. A win means they would advance, while a loss would mark the end.
“It’s do or die time, and the players know that,” said Kriekle.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 11 a.m. in Lacombe.