Lacombe Bantam Raiders bottle Lightning to win home opener

Tristan Reeves, centre, and Adnesse Pannenbecker, right, of the Lacombe Bantam Raiders take down Grayson Butler of the Hunting Hills Junior Lightning during Central Alberta Football League action at MEGlobal Field Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. The Raiders defeated the Lightning 30-6. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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The sun shone on the Lacombe Bantam Raiders during their home opener Saturday as they picked up their second straight Central Alberta Football League (CAFL) victory.

The Raiders defeated Red Deer’s Hunting Hills Junior Lightning 30-6, dominating offensively, albeit as the smaller team on the field.

“They did well. They followed the process,” said Head Coach Fred Knip. “They had a little bit of confidence coming out of Ponoka – Ponoka’s big and we knew these guys were big. We thought if we could just hang in there, (have) perseverence, and see what (Hunting’s) doing – if they’re tighter or not, can we loosen ’em up with a few passes on the backside – and we did.”

The Raiders were up 8-0 at the half, and carried momentum into the third quarter.

With 5:21 left in the frame, Raiders quarterback Scott Magee faked a hand off, before running the ball in to extend the lead, with kicker Ethan Reglin’s two-point conversion increasing the lead to 16-0. A few minutes later, he’d get sacked, but on the next play would make no sense, taking the Lightning wide to the left side to make an over 40-yard run and extend the lead to 24-0 heading into the fourth.

It took several of the Hunting Hills Junior Lightning to take down Lacombe Bantam Raiders quarterback Scott Magee during Central Alberta Football League action at MEGlobal Field Sept. 14, 2019. The Raiders defeated the Lightning 30-6. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

“He was (in control). He’s working into his position,” said Knip, noting Magee has been injured the last couple years. “He’s got a bullet of an arm – some of my receivers keep taking a little bit off and I say no.”

The Lightning would have a series off offsides in the fourth, handing the Raiders opportunity after opportunity to score again, but a fumble recovery – and a couple of unnecessary roughness calls against the Raiders – finally gave the Lightning a chance, and Lightning quarterback Alexander Wilson snapped to Cohen Gardner to get on the scoreboard with 5:30 left in the game.

The Raiders, however, didn’t let up and were able to add one more touchdown, this one carried across by Michael Waite. While Reglin’s last kick would be denied by Lightning Damon Gerrard, the home team would finish with a 30-6 victory.

Elliot Wyse of the Lacombe Bantam Raiders loses his footing as he tries to dodge a tackle by his Hunting Hill Junior Lightning opponent during Central Alberta Football League action at MEGlobal Field Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. The Raiders defeated the Lightning 30-6. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

While the Raiders record is still perfect, their game isn’t. Knip promises to make the boys run in practice in hope of drilling more discipline into them.

“I did tell them if you’re going to take a penalty, make it count. A little push, or a hard push – it’s the same 10 yard (penalty),” he said.

“A lot of these kids, they know how to play an excellent Xbox game of Madden 2019, but when they get on the grass it’s like ‘oh, now what?’ We took some silly penalties – we didn’t need to take those penalties, so we’ll work on that.”

While they’re just two games in to the season, Knip says he sees the team building confidence, taking out their main “nemesis” early on, which he hopes to carry into next Saturday’s game against the Stettler Cougars.

Kickoff is at 11 a.m. at MEGlobal Field.

Remaining season schedule is as follows:

  • Sept. 21 vs. Stettler
    MEGlobal Field at 11 a.m.
  • Sept. 28 @ Sylvan Lake
    Time TBA
  • Oct. 5 @ Rocky Mountain House
    Time TBA
  • Oct. 12 vs. Strathmore
    MEGlobal Field, Time TBA
  • Oct. 19 @ Notre Dame
    Great Chief Park at 4:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 26 – Playoffs Week 1
  • Nov. 2 – Playoffs Week 2

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