The Knights found their rhythm and the visitors were singing the blues.
A 28-point first half vaulted the Holy Trinity Academy Knights past St. Albert’s Paul Kane Blues as the Okotoks school picked up its first win in its third game of the high school football season by a 35-9 count at home on Friday night.
“We needed this for sure,” said Knights defensive end Aiden Kleinsasser. “It’s definitely a booster for the whole team, it brings the confidence and I think we can go forward from this.
“I’m hoping with all of our young players it can up their confidence and we can move forward with more confidence.”
The Blues struck first on a short yardage touchdown in the opening minute yet the Knights were not on their heels for long.
HTA went into the contest looking to bounce back from a lopsided loss to the top-ranked St. Joe’s Celtics the week prior.
The team responded well all week heading into Friday night.
“It was a bit of a short week for us because of the long weekend,” said Knights head coach Matt Hassett. “They really focused in and the couple practices we did have they really cranked up the intensity.
“We’re young we’re talented and we’ve got a lot of guys that haven’t played a lot of football, but they’re great athletes so we just keep telling them we’re playing for the end of October and we’ve got to keep getting better every week.
“We took a good step forward this week.”
The Knights took control late in the first quarter with defence turning to offence.
After the Knights turned the ball over deep in the Blues half, a punt out of the end zone from the visitors went awry on a snap into the end-zone with Kleinsasser laying a punishing hit on the punter to recover possession for the touchdown.
“I just saw him fumbling it, came in quick and my plan was to separate him from the ball,” Kleinsasser said. “And that’s what happened.”
The Knights front-seven proved to be a problem all evening with quarterback pressure, sacks and tackles for losses dished out through 48 minutes.
“It was just getting off that ball quick, getting around the corner and forcing that quarterback to move around the pocket,” said defensive end Aiden Kleinsasser. “I feel like we had some good blitzes and some stunts and stuff. The linebackers were teamed in pretty well, they were calling things up front and I knew what to do and did my job right.”
On offence, the Knights made the second quarter one to remember.
First, quarterback Ryan Petersen connected with wide receiver Chris McLarty for a 36-yard touchdown after a pump fake from the signal caller fooled the Blues secondary leading to a wide-open scamper to pay dirt.
The Grade 11 quarterback added a running touchdown on a goal-line sneak and made it three majors in the quarter when he found Grade 12 slotback Michael Eagle Bear, a transfer from Foothills Composite, for a perfectly executed fade route.
“That was the first game for (Eagle Bear) his transfer finally went through,” Hassett said. “It was good to have that more veteran presence. The receivers are very young for the most part, they’re great athletes, but they’re still learning how to be at football.
“Especially the first two games with all the chaos it’s unlike most sports, if you’re coming from volleyball or basketball.”
The second half saw the Knights add one more touchdown with Grade 10 slotback Jake Bourdin showing off his considerable open field speed on a highlight reel 70 yard touchdown run down the right sidelines.
Next week, the Knights are home to the Hunting Hills Lightning, a perennial power out of Red Deer, on Sept. 17.
“That will be another great test,” Hassett added. “This is the toughest schedule we’ve ever had, by far. It’s kind of murderer’s row, so they’re going to grow up fast.
“It’s going to prepare us well for the end (of the season) for sure.”