Fast Comets have Knights chasing their tails
Football: Holy Trinity cant overcome 24-0 half-time deficit
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 09:03 am
The Holy Trinity Academy Knights couldn’t douse a 24-minute Comet shower in their high school football home opener.
The Raymond Comets built up a 24-0 lead in the opening half as they streaked to a 32-6 victory over Holy Trinity Academy (HTA) at Knights Field in Okotoks Friday night.
HTA head coach Matt Hassett admitted his team got its tail kicked in the opening 24 minutes, however, he wanted the Knights to come out shining in the second half.
“We were awful in the first half,” Hassett said. “Our offensive line wasn’t firing off the ball — we shot ourselves in the foot. I told the guys at halftime lets win the second half.
“I told them it’s a true sense of character that when you get knocked down you stand up and do something about it. The second half they showed their character and played like Knights. They just have to do that for four quarters not just two.”
Raymond came out and played like Comets — that is, they showed why they have been one of the most powerful schools in the province the last decade. They have won three of the last five Tier I provincial high school championships.
The Knights’ offence struggled in the opening half as Troy McGee got the start at quarterback. He went out with a leg injury in the second quarter and was replaced by back-up quarterback Nick McFarland. Neither quarterback was able to get anything going as HTA did not have a first down in the opening half.
The Comets were able to take a 7-0 lead before they ran a down from scrimmage. After HTA went two-and-out on their opening drive, the Comets Zane Oler took a Knights’ punt went up the middle and broke to the outside for a 57-yard touchdown.
The Comets would extend their lead to 9-0 just before the end of the first quarter when the Knights conceded a safety with the ball deep in their zone.
Raymond extended its lead to 16-0 early in the second quarter when running Rhett Ellingson bulled his way in from 13 yard out. The touchdown had been set up by 26-yard run by the Comets’ Justin Maynes.
Raymond would add eight more points in the final minutes on a rouge and then a 13-yard TD scamper by slotback Truman Long to make it 24-0 at halftime.
It was time to regroup in the second half for HTA, said McFarland.
“Our entire offence picked it up and started to show their character,” McFarland said. “We gave it all right until the last whistle.”
The Knights were knocking on the door a couple times in the second half, but both times were stopped inside the Comets’ 15-yard-line.
The Knights scored on their final drive when McFarland unloaded a bomb that went off a Raymond defender into the hands of alert HTA receiver Caleb Selders, who ran the ball down to the eight-yard line.
That wasn’t the last Knight rebound of the game. On the next play McFarland threw a flare to Donovan Curtis who turned around and got belted by a Comet — popping the ball into the arms of the quarterback who ran it to the Comets’ two-yard line.
“The next thing I knew the ball was flying right to me,” McFarland said with a laugh. “I just grabbed it in the air and took off.”
The Knights then got on the board when Curtis ran it in from two yards out to make the final 32-6.
Although the Comets put up more than 30 points, the Knights’ defence played well as Raymond was often playing on a short field, according to Hassett.
“The defence got put on a short field a few times,” Hassett said. “Our defence did play well, but there were a few plays that killed us — their counter killed us a lot. But we will clean it up for next week.”
Knights cornerback Logan Armstrong, who had an interception in the game, agreed the defence played okay, but could be better.
“Defensively we had a good game, but we just have to tighten up our gaps,” he said. “It was tough because sometimes we were starting in our red-zone.”
Raymond running back Ellingson said the Comets wanted to come out flying in what was their first game of the year.
“We have more Grade 12s this year to help us lead,” Ellingson said “Our blocking was really good tonight.”
Comets coach Darryl Salmon said he was impressed with the Knights.
“It’s early season jitters — they bobbled a few snaps — but they are all things that can be ironed out,” Salmon said.
“I thought their No. 2 (McFarland) played well. He’s shifty and he gave us some problems.”
The Knights are 1-1 this season and are currently No. 8 in the Tier II provincial rankings.
They have a tough one next week when they open Big Rock Conference season against defending league champions the Rundle Cobras.
“Rundle College is the conference champions and they are champions until someone knocks them off,” Hassett said.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Knights Field.