By Garrett Simmons
Westwind Weekly News
Another slow start didn’t do the Raymond Comets any favours in a Friday-night loss last week to Notre Dame.
Raymond fell to 0-2 on the season after a 28-20 loss to the provincial powerhouse, as assistant coach Matt Baines lamented a tough start on the defensive side of the ball.
“Our start wasn’t great this game either,” he said. “We found ourselves down 14-0. Notre Dame made some big plays and we had to re-group and try to just play a bit better defence.”
The team did in fact re-group and made the contest a close one after two quarters with a touchdown just before the half to make it a 14-7 ball game heading into the break.
Raymond carried that momentum into the second half.
“In the third quarter we were able to tie the game 14-14 and then early in the fourth we took the lead 20-14,” said Baines.
However, Notre Dame took a one-point lead in the middle of the fourth with a TD and a conversion.
“That was more reflective of the final score,” said Baines, who added the Calgary team’s final score came after a Raymond late-game gamble. “We were forced into going for it on third down from our own 25 with under two minutes left and they stopped us and ended up scoring after that.”
The assistant coach added while his team fought until the end, Notre Dame used its size advantage effectively throughout the game.
“Their size was the biggest challenge for us,” he said. “Every position along both offensive and defensive lines we were out sized. But we are used to that. Our players work very hard.”
Notre Dame’s size advantage aside, Baines added his team also made a couple of key mistakes that helped flip the field in Notre Dame’s favour.
“We had two turnovers that hurt us in the field-position game. Other than that, it was fairly consistent.
An added challenge is the fact many players have limited high school football experience, as COVID-19 took away the 2020 season.
“These kids have to grow up fast,” said Baines. “Heading into the Ainlay game last week we only had one player on our whole team who had started in a high school game before. These tough games early in help us learn lots about ourselves. We want the challenge.”
Next up for the Comets will be a Saturday-night game in Cardston against the Cougars, for a game Baines added never disappoints.
“It should be a big crowd and a fun atmosphere.”