The Hunting Hills Lighting came into their provincial semi-final game with high aspirations of taking out the Foothills Falcons, who have been Tier II provincial champions for the previous two years.
The Lightning were unfortunately unable to reach their aspirations, falling to the Falcons 42-7.
“We could have gave Foothills a battle,” Lightning Coach Kyle Sedgwick said. “The score was not indicative. You are never going to win at this level when you have seven turnovers. You probably won’t win any football game against any team if you turn the ball over seven times.”
The first quarter didn’t go as planned as the Falcons found the endzone on their opening drive when slotback Tyson Hartle grabbed a pass from quarterback Tyson Pitcher. The Falcons would grab the early 8-0, due to an earlier safety in Lightning territory
The Lightning would have a fortunate answer after their punter recovered his own kick deep in Falcons territory. Lightning quarterback Brandon Rees would score on the ensuing possession, leading to 8-7 Falcon lead.
The second quarter would start off with another Hartle touchdown, leading to a 15-7 lead. The Falcons would add the first half lead when Payton Burbank found the endzone for the third Falcons score of the game.
The Lightning would go into halftime with a tough hill to climb in the second half.
“The first half we had some good drives, but they scored right at the end of the half. That score 15-7 is a whole lot different than 22-7 at this time of year. That was a bit of a killer for us,” Sedgwick said.
Things would get worse for the Lightning when Pitcher would run in a score of his own from the 1-yard line, leading to a big 29-7 lead for Foothills.
The Falcons would keep on punishing the Lightning defense after Keaton Neish caught an 18-yard pass, leading to burgeoning 36-7 lead.
“It starts turning into nerves after you keep turning the ball over. Everyone is trying to do too much and you get too wound up,” Sedgewick said.
The blows would keep coming in the third when Hartle found the endzone for the third time, ballooning the lead to the final score of 42-7.
The Lightning season would end for the fourth consecutive season at the hands of Foothills.
“Today wasn’t our day,” Sedgwick said.
He added he hopes Foothills goes on to win at next week’s provincial championship.
“I think we are the two best teams. They capitalized today and we had some errors. Full credit to them, they took advantage of it,” Sedgwick said.
He added the coaching staff is extremely proud of their players and that a Central Albertan Tier II team winning a provincial game is something that used to be the rarest thing around.
“Meeting Foothills in the semi-finals the last three years is a testament to our program,” he said.