Lightning-Falcons clash again in semifinal
Football: Foothills hoping to keep streak over Hunting Hills going
Thursday, Nov 16, 2017 05:13 pm
A Red Deer high school football team is hoping to crash through a burgundy roadblock in Lacombe this weekend.
That roadblock for the Hunting Hills Lightning is the two-time defending Tier II provincial football champions, the Foothills Falcons.
“We know each other pretty well,” said Lightning head coach Kyle Sedgwick. “We’ve played each other several times over the years.”
In fact, the Falcons have eliminated the Lightning from the Tier II playoffs the past four years. The 10-0 Lightning will meet Foothills on Saturday in Lacombe in the provincial semifinal. Hunting Hills advanced to the semifinals by routing the St. Mary’s Saints 46-0 Nov. 11. Foothills defeated the Springbank Phoenix 54-15 to move on.
“What they (Foothills) do well offensively is they are always athletic across the board at the skills positions,” Sedgwick said. “You look at them one year, they might have a veteran group of skill players and then next year — they have skills guys again.”
Sedgwick knows the Foothills talent. He coached the Falcons’ all-purpose back Payton Burbank, receiver Keaton Neish and centre Parker Nakamura at the International Bowl in Texas.
He also knows the Price is more than right for Foothills — after trying to stop runningback Payton Price the past two years.
“Payton Price is having a great year and is a great player and is running the ball very well,” Sedgwick said. “I think what they do offensively is they use their athleticism and intelligence very well. Their quarterback (Tyson Pitcher), besides being a great athlete, he doesn’t make mistakes. He has a lot of experience.”
He said the Falcons keep it simple on the defense.
They have been simply terrific. Foothills has given up only two defensive touchdowns in their past five games.
“They play very fast and they get to the ball,” Sedgwick said. “They have a similar philosophy that we do — keep it simple, play aggressive and get to the ball.”
The Falcons are respected by the Lightning, but Hunting Hills won’t roll over.
The Lightning isn’t a flash in the pan. They are undefeated at no. 2 in the provincial rankings – a notch above the 7-3 Foothills Falcons.
“Defensively, I think we are pretty athletic and fast, we have more size in the secondary and we try to take advantage of this,” Sedgwick said. “Austin Schneider is our safety and he has had good season.”
Hunting Hills has an experienced quarterback in Brandon Rees.
“We have two good runningbacks in Logan Clarkson who had quite a few carries against Foothills last year,” Sedgwick said. “Our tailback Luc Lukalu is young, but playing well.”
Receiver Nathan Lavigne leads the receiving corps.
“Passing wise, it will be a quick game and try to get it in our guys hands as quick as we can,” he said.
A key will be staying calm.
“Foothills is very good at capitalizing on mistakes,” Sedgwick said. “We have to understand that when we get to this level, you aren’t going to get a first down every play. Yards will be hard to come by. We are finalizing what we want to do and we have to stick with that.”
Falcons head coach Darren Olson and his coaching staff have been watching so much film they’ve seen more Lightning than a weatherman.
Although Olson has not lost to Hunting Hills in his five years at the Comp, he is taking nothing for granted.
“They are always a well-coached team,” Olson said. “They are unbeaten this year and have been very dominant in their league play. They are fast and very athletic, and going to their home field, even though it is in Lacombe, they have played all their games there this year, is definitely going to be a challenge for us.”
Kick-off for Saturday’s provincial semifinal is 4 p.m. at MEGlobal Athletic Park in Lacombe. Keep track of quarterly updates on Twitter at @OKWesternWheel.
The other semifinal pits St. Joseph’s Celtics vs. the Lloydminster Barons.
The provincial final is on Nov. 25 at Lacombe.