Southern Alberta Newspapers
The Raymond Comets football team will venture a little further into November.
Playing in distinctly un-November conditions, the Comets beat the LCI Rams 21-7 in their high school football Tier 1 regional final Thursday night at the University of Lethbridge Stadium.
Taylor Hillyer ran for a pair of touchdowns for the 10th-ranked Comets and cornerback/quarterback Chase Bohne caught three interceptions and threw a touchdown to Jeremy Fairbanks.
“It was great, we had a lot of confidence in our boys and a lot of confidence coming into this game,” said Comets assistant coach Matt Baines. “We prepared well, the boys practised hard and they just believed in themselves. I think coach (Daryl) Salmon really set the tone for everything. Practices got really serious and we had an eye on this game. We knew if we played our game we would be alright and I think we did.”
The Comets took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter as Brady Sillito ran for a pair of carries to the Rams 11-yard line.
Hillyer ran for a first down into the red zone with 1:29 to go in the first half and punched in on a handoff on the next play for a 7-0 lead with 1:07 left in the first quarter.
Bohne went back to work with his second interception of the half and set up the Comets next major in the process, airing out a pass to Fairbanks for a 14-0 lead with 4:57 left in the first half.
Raymond nearly took a 21-0 lead into the half, but Boomer Heggie was unable to get a handle on a pass in the end zone in dying minutes of the half as the Comets nursed a 14-0 lead into the break.
It stayed that way until the fourth quarter.
After the teams swapped fumbles late in the third quarter, the Rams set up the thrilling finish when quarterback Ryan Genswein hit Tanner MacLachlan for a 50-yard pass and run that cut the Comets lead in half with 3:31 remaining in the game.
But the Comets answered right back on the next drive as Hillyer plunged in from nine yards out for his second touchdown of the game to round out the scoring.
“When they scored I was getting a bit worried,” said Hillyer. “I knew they could possibly get an onside kick and I just knew I had to keep my head in the game, just like my team.
“We just kept our heads in the game and didn’t get too cocky or excited. Our offensive line fought hard for me and opened up holes all night.”
Baines credited his team for the quick response after the Rams strike made it 14-7.
“That’s what you want from your team going into the playoffs,” said Baines. “You want your team to respond because no game is going to go perfect for you, things are going to happen. You just have to bring it together and go hard.”
That has extended the Comets run into November.
“This is great,” said Baines. “We knew the boys could do it and to see them accomplish that is just phenomenal. We’re happy about it and we’re ready to go on a run.”
“Just the hard work and the pride,” said Hillyer of his team playing for another week. “We know we’re smaller, but we always know we’ll work as hard as we can.
“It’s the best feeling in the world.”