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Knights take seesaw Battle of Okotoks

Football: HTA outlasts Foothills 34-24 in front of packed house

A capacity crowd was treated to the tightest all Okotoks football clash in a half-decade on Friday.

And when the dust settled under the Friday Night Lights, the Holy Trinity Academy Knights took the high school football Battle of Okotoks by a 34-24 score over the host Foothills Falcons on Sept. 15.

“This is the game I’ve looked forward to since I started going to HTA and the biggest goal on our schedule,” said Knights quarterback Declan Lyth. “In warmups and the first part of the game, I had a little bit of nerves and then we started rolling as an offence.

“We just calmed down and started letting the ball fly.”

After a pair of impressive defensive stands, the Falcons took the early advantage.

Remy Pilon kicked in a 25-yard field goal to complete an impressive drive after a long reception from Lucas Gough got the Comp in the red zone.

“It’s a frustrating one because I don’t think I would change anything,” said Falcons head coach Nathan St. Dennis. “You can’t control some things in football and officiating is one of them and I definitely felt like there was some calls that were questionable that make a big impact on the game.

“It’s never good losing a rivalry game like this, but I feel great about our kids, they worked so hard, they made plays even when they dealt with injuries and officials and everything else.

“I’m really excited about this group.”

The Knights took the lead back on the final play of the quarter with Lyth finding receiver Ben Gutek for a diving 15 yard catch deep in the end zone.

On their next drive, the HTA duo linked up once again with Lyth uncorking a 60-yard pass and catch to Gutek to help set up a goalline run into the end zone.

“We’re a very run heavy team because we have Seth (Poelzer) and he’s such a good runningback,” Lyth said. “But I really enjoyed it because all week looking at film we saw some of the mismatches and we were hoping it would work out.

“Me and Ben (Gutek) were able to connect a few times and it was great.”

Less than three minutes later, the Knights were celebrating another touchdown with a major assist to the defence.

Knights defensive end Ben Haden, who had three sacks on the night, tipped a pass attempt and caught it midair before being tackled at the one-yard line. Poelzer then punched it in to make it a 20-3 advantage late in the half.

“As an end you always get contain and I didn’t quite have it, so I had to reach over,” Haden said. “I smacked the ball up, knew it was in the air, tracked it, caught it and I thought I was in (the end zone), but we got the touchdown in the end.”

Foothills rallied in the second half and made its first trip to the end zone on a QB keeper from the fleet-footed Emerson Liepert.

The Knights countered with Lyth finding receiver Wyatt Danard in double coverage with the receiver corralling the ball and sprinting into the end zone for a 55-yard touchdown.

The seesaw battle continued with Liepert chewing up yardage on the ground and then setting up Gough for a 20-yard catch and run major.

In the late stages, the teams exchanged touchdowns again with HTA’s Jack Bjorge scoring on a goalline reception and Liepert finding speedster Caleb Baker for a 65-yard trip to pay dirt.

“It really does show Okotoks has a special football community,” St. Dennis said. “We’ve got some amazing athletes at both schools. People that don’t know football, don’t know how special it is here.”

The Falcons dropped to 2-1 on the season with the Knights improving to 4-0.

“It’s electric, this was a bigger crowd than we had at the provincial final,” Haden said. “Performing like we did in this atmosphere is amazing.

“It just means bragging rights until next year, we’ve just got to lock in for the rest of the season and hopefully win again.”

Next up for the Knights is a Sept. 22 home date versus the Chinook High Coyotes out of Lethbridge. For Foothills, it will be a first road date of the season with a Sept. 22 in Cardston versus the Cougars.

Remy Greer

About the Author: Remy Greer

Remy Greer is the assistant editor and sports reporter for and the Western Wheel newspaper. For story tips contact [email protected]
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