Lacombe Bantam Raiders finish regular season with victory over Notre Dame Cougars

Ethan Reglin of the Lacombe Bantam Raiders avoids a tackle by his Strathmore opponent during a recent game at MEGlobal Athletic Park. Reglin scored 26 of the Raiders' 45 points against the Notre Dame Junior Cougars in Red Deer at Great Chief Park Saturday to propel them to a 45-22 win and an A-side playoff berth. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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The Lacombe Bantam Raiders will be playing on the A-side finals in the Central Alberta Football League (CAFL) playoffs after securing a win in their final game of the regular season.

On Saturday, the Raiders defeated a larger Notre Dame Junior Cougars team 45-22 at Great Chief Park in Red Deer, and improving their record to 5-2 on the season.

Head Coach Fred Knip said he was “ecstatic” about the win.

“We did a lot of conditioning the last two weeks and it paid of,” he said. “Although the game was close for the first two quarters, we had a lot of gas left for the second half of the game and that was the difference.”

The boys were ready to go from kickoff, as the Cougars attempted an on-side kick that ended up in the hands of Raiders’ receiver Adnesse Pannenbecker. Pannenbecker immediately took advantage, making a 65-yard run to score the Raiders first touchdown 10 seconds into the game. Quarterback Ethan Reglin recovered a snap on following convert and found Scott Magee in the endzone to add a single point conversion.

However, just a few minutes later, the Cougars were able to pounce back on their next possession with a touchdown of their own at the other end and made a two-point conversion to take a one-point, 8-7 lead at 3:51.

Several minutes later, Reglin would get it back as he made a 46-yard run off a broken play for his first touchdown, followed by a two-point conversion. Once again, the Cougars would strike back, successfully making several first downs to score again, but would miss the conversion, leaving the Raiders with a 15-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Almost midway through the second, Reglin would score his second touchdown on a 48-yard run, but would miss the convert, giving the Cougars an opportunity to run up the middle for another opposition touchdown and taking a 22-21 lead.

Right before the half, Pannenbecker would make an 80-yard run down the left side on a reverse fly to score his second touchdown, and take a 29-22 Raider lead into the dressing room.

Knip said he was afraid complacency would take over, and reminded the team there was another half left. However, he also saw signs of their opponents running out of gas.

“Notre Dame had some huge, strong players and we were trying to shake loose of them. They just kept coming back. They were relentless, but I had told our team that the longer we can stay close, the better it is for us,” he said. “I believed we had more stamina and endurance. They started to show signs of fatigue half way through the second quarter already.”

The defence on both ends of the field tightened up in the second half, and although the ball went back and forth for awhile, the Cougars struggled to break through, and it was Reglin who would finally do so for the raiders with his third touchdown and additional convert. Magee added a late touchdown, propelling the Raiders to their 45-22 victory, but Reglin was the clear star of the game with 26 of the team’s 45 points.

“Ethan Reglin played lights-out for us today…He really wanted to win this game,” said Knip. “Adnesse Pannenbecker also played really well for us with two touchdowns. Defensively, Michael Wait, Koden Stott and Harley Gagnon delivered the goods – they form a strong defensive base for us.”

Magee also added a late-game touchdown.

The win secured the Raiders a berth into the A-side finals, putting them against the undefeated Stettler Cougars. The Cougars have averaged 64 points a game and have allowed just one touchdown the entire season – a touchdown that was scored by the Raiders themselves in just their third game of the season.

They’ll look to break the Cougars win streak next Saturday, Oct. 26 on the road in Stettler. Kickoff time is to be determined.

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