Lacombe Raiders head to provincial championship

It was easily the biggest challenge the Lacombe Raiders have faced all year.

CELEBRATION – Lacombe Raiders Lucas Wessner and David Mueller celebrate after Wessner’s game-changing touch-down in the fourth quarter in the provincial semi-final against the Edmonton Black Raiders this past weekend. Lacombe won the game and became the first Central Alberta team ever to make it to a Bantam provincial final.

CELEBRATION – Lacombe Raiders Lucas Wessner and David Mueller celebrate after Wessner’s game-changing touch-down in the fourth quarter in the provincial semi-final against the Edmonton Black Raiders this past weekend. Lacombe won the game and became the first Central Alberta team ever to make it to a Bantam provincial final.

It was easily the biggest challenge the Lacombe Raiders have faced all year.

In a nail-biting provincial semi-final in Lacombe this past Saturday, the Lacombe Raiders defeated the Edmonton Black Raiders 22-14 to become the first ever Central Alberta team to make it to a provincial final.

It was clear from the first quarter that the two teams were evenly matched. Both teams had stellar defensive lines while both struggled somewhat offensively. By the end of the first half, neither team had made much headway and the scoreboard showed the game tied at 7-7.

The third quarter went on much the same. It was in the fourth quarter of the game where a third down drive for the end zone by Edmonton made the tide turn in its favour.

Knowing the ball was going to Edmonton’s Alexander Gayle, whom Edmonton relied heavily on during the game, Lacombe anticipated Edmonton’s play, moving too early and having an off-side as well as an unnecessary roughness penalty called against them.

Those penalties resulted in the ball being placed on Lacombe’s goal line and a subsequent touchdown for Edmonton. With only about six minutes left in the game, it looked like Lacombe’s shot at the provincial title might be slipping through the players’ fingers. “It was scary,” said Quarterback David Mueller. He added at that point, he was not sure if his team would be able to get the points back.

Mike Wood said he and the rest of the coaching staff were sure the team could and would catch up.

“We were so confident in our team,” said Wood.

When Edmonton recovered their own kick after that touchdown, Lacombe’s defensive line kicked its game up a notch, stopping any further touchdown’s from Edmonton in order to get the ball back in the hands of Lacombe’s offensive line.

Middle Linebacker James Wood said he was aware of the pressure he and his line mates were facing. He added he did whatever he could to help the defense and keep them motivated.

But, as things were looking dire, the winds shifted again, this time in favour of Lacombe.

A long run and subsequent touchdown by Lucas Wessner closed much of the score-gap and gave Lacombe a much-needed morale boost. Wessner said he was overjoyed when he realized he had made it to the end zone unscathed.

“I was just so happy,” said Wessner. “I kept running and then I ran back around. I was just so happy.”

That morale boost was even furthered by Ben Arifin, who had been sitting on the sidelines with a torn glut, gearing up and coming onto the field. Arifin said as he was standing on the sidelines watching the game, he got a call from his father telling him to get dressed and give his team some much needed help.

Lacombe then scored on a two-point conversion attempt, putting them one point ahead of Edmonton and back in the running for the victory. A few minutes later, Arifin bought his team some extra insurance when he made an interception and long run for another Lacombe touchdown.

At that point, it looked like Lacombe had the game in the bag, but Edmonton wasn’t going to let Lacombe have the victory that easily. Pushing for one more touchdown and even bringing an injured Gayle back onto the field, Edmonton forced Lacombe’s defense further and further back.While Edmonton looked several times as if they would score, Lacombe defense hung on, keeping the lead until the end of the game.

The players said they may not have been able to do it without the help of their fans, who showed outstanding support on Saturday, braving the cold weather to cheer on the team. “I think the fans were a big factor in this game because they helped motivate us through the hard parts,” said Wessner.

“Seeing friends and family in the stands really helps,” added Mueller.

As the first Central Alberta team ever to make it to a provincial final, both the players and coaching staff of the Lacombe Raiders are incredibly excited and proud of the achievement. Mike, who decided at the beginning of the season to retire from coaching the Raiders after this year, said he couldn’t ask for a better season during his final year coaching.

Lacombe will host the Calgary Bulldogs in the provincial championship at 11 a.m. on Saturday at ME Global Field.


Just Posted

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer down to 102 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 332 cases with 26 in hospital and five in ICU

Photo Courtesy: Echo Lacombe Association logo.
Lacombe City Council supports Echo Lacombe with location for pilot program

Echo Lacombe Association will run a pilot propgram on food rescue until November, 1, 2021

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

File Photo
Blackfalds RCMP seeking suspects in traffic collision

RCMP are asking the public for help identifing two suspects wanted for multiple offences

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday June 12th, 2021

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Most Read