The Hunting Hills Lighting and Lacombe Composite Rams football teams met at MEGlobal Athletic Park on a snowy Saturday afternoon to decide Red Deer High School Football League supremacy.
Both the Rams and Lightning came into the finals after handling Notre Dame and Lindsay Thurber respectively in the semi-finals last weekend. The Lighting would have the slight edge in the game after finishing first overall in the season—going undefeated throughout.
The Lighting would show why they are the second-ranked high school football team in the province with a confident 34-11 win, that was never really in question.
The first seeded Lightning would come in with two extra days of rest, however it was Coach Jason Petrie’s second-seeded Rams who would find the scoreboard first when Lacombe punched home a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter.
Kyle Sedgwick’s Lightning would have the answer however with a nifty fake punt that led to a 40-yard touchdown run by Zac Sanderson, leading to a 7-3 Lightning early lead.
The Lightning would follow that up with a huge punt run return from Austin Schneider in the second quarter, followed by a 1-yard touchdown from quarterback Brandon Rees.
Hunting Hills would try to tack on another three points on a field goal, however the boot came up short. The Lightning held the lead going into the second half 14-3.
The third quarter would be a slug fest, with the scoreboard not moving until 2:51 left when Nathan Lavigne caught a 12-yard catch for the Lightning’s third touchdown of the game.
The Lightning would follow that up on the very next possesion when Rams quarterback Johnny Ericson bobbled the ball in the backfield leading Lavigne eventually recoving the ball in the endzone after a series of drops—leading to a commanding 27-3 Hunting Hills lead.
The Lighting would start off the 4th quarter pinned deep by Lacombe, which eventually led to a conceded 2-points to the Rams, bring the score to 27-5 Hunting Hills.
Lavigne would continue his stellar game with a 12-yard Lightning touchdown with 4:37 to play—extending the out-of-reach lead to 34-5.
“It really seemed to happen for him in the third quarter,” Sedgwick said. “Lavigne has done that all year. He is a great player and won’t be denied when he gets close to the endzone.”
“That last one was the nail in the coffin,” Lavigne said. “It was a great day to be out here scoring touchdowns and winning football games.”
Ericson would add a late inconsequential score late in the fourth, which lead to the final score of 34-11.
“I saw guys work really hard. i saw the experience of our guys,” Sedgwick said. “Our preparation was great for a hard-fought, tough-conditions game. It was two teams that were top of the league and they play very hard, very physical. Our guys deserved to win”
The Lightning will now go on to the first round of the provincial championships against St. Mary’s High School out of Calgary.
“We got to get healthy and we have to prepare in the cold the best we can,” Sedgwick said about provincials. “The thing about provincials is that you have to learn a team you don’t know a lot about and you got to learn them fast.”