It is beginning to seem like the Lacombe Raiders are an unstoppable force.
Whether they are playing in the regular season or playoffs certainly seems to have no bearing on how the Raiders perform.
On Oct. 18, Lacombe hosted Drumheller in the first playoff game of the season, winning the game in a landslide victory 66-8.
Mike Wood said that the whole team played strong and was very balanced between offense and defence.
On the defensive side, Wood said Skyler Budd and Eric Halbert stepped up their game with Budd intercepting two passes and Halbert making quite a few tackles to strengthen the game. Offensively, Wood commended Kyle Popp (whose teammates call him Rhino) for some outstanding runs.
Now, the raiders are setting their sights on the league championship and Wood said the team is buckling down to take the title.
“We are a veteran team with a lot of heart and a lot of strength and we are determined to end this season on top,” said Wood. “Our kids have set their goals to play as hard as they can six seconds at a time.”
Lacombe’s next challenge will come in the form of a game against Sylvan Lake, another new opponent for the Raiders who won their spot against Lacombe in the playoffs by defeating Notre Dame.
Wood said that Notre Dame is one of the more challenging teams in the league and thus he expects Sylvan Lake to be even more so.
He added that Sylvan Lake has a strong linebacker, leftback and a strong quarterback with a good arm the Raiders will have to watch out for.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” said Wood. “We will have to play our top game for sure.”
Both are games Lacombe will have to win without one of its starting players. Receiver Matt Darnell will be missing from the next two Raiders games as he is traveling to Kenya with his family as part of A Better World mission trip. Wood said some of the players who will be filling in Darnell’s position got a chance to get used to that role Friday night and the Raiders are confident they can make the game work with those adjustments.
“We’ll miss him of course,” said Wood. “He was a great asset to our team.”
Luckily, Wood said the Raiders have been fortunate with injuries this season and as such there are no other holes in the team’s roster.
Should they win on Saturday, Lacombe will have another big challenge waiting for them in the final, against either Stettler or Strathmore. Wood said that the Raiders’ regular season game against Stettler was their biggest challenge of the year and added Strathmore is undefeated.
Either way it will be a tough game for Lacombe.
“This Stettler-Strathmore game will be a beat-up game for sure,” said Wood.
Lacombe Raiders play their next game at ME Global Field Oct. 26 at 11 a.m.