A strong first half propelled the Lacombe Bantam Raiders past the Strathmore Badgers in their final regular season home game of the year.
On Saturday, the Raiders defeated the Badgers 37-8 in Central Alberta Football League action, proving their bounce back victory after a two-game slump wasn’t just fluke.
The difference, according to Head Coach Fred Knip, was a concerted effort to crack down on the team’s discipline.
“We had probably the toughest week in discipline – we had a lack of discipline from the boys, from the team…As a result, they would have to run fair amounts and so last week we did very little on execution and an awful lot on running to the point where the boys wanted to mutiny,” he said, noting they ran about 15 kilometres last week.
“As a result of that 15 kilometres last week, they were very sharp in the first half. I had confidence knowing we’d be able to stay with (Strathmore), we’d have gas right to the end and we did.”
In fact, all the Raiders points came within the first half. The hometown team got on the board with a safety early, followed by a 15-yard interception by Declan Schlecht for their first touchdown of the game and a 7-0 lead.
With momentum on their side, Scott Magee would receive a 29-yard pass, and Ethan Reglin made good on the ensuing conversion to make the score 15-0. Adnesse Pannenbecker would score the next two touchdowns on 26-yard and 14-yard passes, with Reglin converting on both.
Michael Waite had the final touchdown for the Raiders at the end of the first half with a 29-yard run.
Ahead 37-0, backups were put into the lineup for the start of the second, which cooled their offensive push.
“We had some issues this week with guys not showing up for practice. They didn’t start and some of them didn’t practice for two or three practices and then didn’t go in until the second half and they were cold,” said Knip. “I did tell them at halftime if we can score 37 in a half, so can they.”
Less sharp on the field discipline-wise, the team had a series of penalties, including two unsportsmanlike and an unnecessary roughness that sent them 45 yards back and into their own zone which would see Badger Sara West run two yards to break the shutout, followed by a Brady Johanson field goal.
The Raiders would swap players if they weren’t show discipline on the field, and were able to hold onto a 37-8 lead.
Their last game of the regular season will be next Saturday, Oct. 19 against the Notre Dame Jr. Cougars in Red Deer at 4:30 p.m.
Whether they win or not could decide if the Raiders end up at the bottom of the A-side for playoffs, or top of the B-side.
Knip expects it to be a battle.
“Any Red Deer team and Lacombe, there’s historical rivalry. They don’t like us, and we don’t like them – nice people, love ’em all, but when you put kids on the football field…We historically win a lot of games and I expect we’re going to win next Saturday,’ he said.
“Bring on Notre Dame.”