By Garrett Simmons
Westwind Weekly News
No. 2 in Alberta has a nice ring to it for the Raymond Comets.
After a 35-0 win Friday over Holy Trinity, Raymond trails only Harry Ainlay in the Tier 1 rankings in Alberta.
Friday’s game was yet another statement for the Comets, as Holy Trinity came into the game at 7-0, as the No. 1 ranked Tier 2 team in the province.
“They for sure are in the discussion for one of the best teams in the province – for sure the top team in Tier 2,” said Raymond assistant coach Matt Baines. “As a coaching staff, we had seen them play in person twice. We had seen a bit more film. They are a very good team. They have a quality QB and some dangerous receivers and a solid running game. We knew in order to beat them we would have to be at the top of our game.”
Raymond’s domination began right off the hop, as the first play of the game for the Comets offence had Brock Barnett take the handoff and sprint 52 yards for a score.
Midway into the second quarter, Tanner Morales missed a field goal for a single point to put Raymond up 8-0. It stayed that way until three minutes left in second quarter, as Luka Kauro added an eight-yard TD run. The two-point convert attempt was good, as the Comets led 16-0.
HTA drove to the Comets 35-yard line with 30 seconds left in second in the half, before Kauro intercepted a pass to preserve Raymond’s perfect half on defence.
With four minutes left in the third quarter, with HTA on its own 15-yard line, Raymond’s defence created a little more havoc. Nathan Nielson laid a hit on the HTA running back, and the ball popped loose for Bentley Francis to scoop it up and run 12 yards for the TD. That put Raymond up 22-0.
Raymond’s D stood tall again on a third and one with two minutes left in the third, as HTA gambled from its own 30-yard line. Comets linebacker Max Greep tackled the HTA running back for a one-yard loss that all but ended any chance of a comeback.
On the very next play, Pyken Easthope ran it in from 29 yards out to put Raymond up 29-0.
With five minutes left in the fourth, Barnett capped off the scoring with a one-yard TD run.
It was a big victory for the Comets, in a game where Raymond dominated in the trenches.
“We won the battle of the line of scrimmage,” said Baines. “We sacked their quarterback multiple times, intercepted their QB and caused fumbles. We knew they hadn’t come up against anything like our defence all season and we showed it.”
Winning the battle up front was also a huge key on offence, according to the coach.
“We allowed zero quarterback sacks,” said Baines. “We rushed for more yards than they had probably allowed all season. Our offence executed very well.”
This week, the Comets take on a Foothills team coming off a loss to Lethbridge Collegiate Institute.
“We take every opponent seriously,” said Baines. “We start the game with the same intensity as we always do. Then depending on what happens, we adjust. We expect the backups to see plenty of time.”
After the Foothills contest, Raymond will prepare for a Thursday, Nov. 3 tilt against LCI. That game is tentatively stated for 7 p.m.
But whatever happens the rest of the way, Raymond has ripped off some impressive wins, after an opening loss to Harry Ainlay, a tough game in Idaho and some early-season injuries, to climb in the rankings almost every week.
“We knew right from Week 1 we would be in the mix,” said Baines. “Every team has to deal with injuries and we are really proud of the way this team has responded and had players step up. We feel we have done everything in our power to earn the No. 2 ranking and are continuing to push to be No. 1.”