The Westlock Thunderbirds battled hard but, it was the Wainwright Commandos who claimed a 28-6 victory during Friday Night Lights on Sept. 22 at the Westlock Elementary School field.
Despite the loss, which drops the club to 1-2 in the Wheatland Football League, head coach Jon Kramer said they were happy they could drive the ball down the field.
“It wasn’t one, two plays and we’re punting. We had a few drives and then it was penalties, or one or two mistakes (and) we didn’t get the yards we needed,” said Kramer.
“We’re pretty confident that the next time we play these guys, we’ll be able to probably beat them or make it a close game at least.”
The Commandos managed to drive for a touchdown late in the first quarter and went up by a pair of scores in the second quarter.
Wainwright then gained another seven points in the third quarter before the Thunderbirds were able to answer.
The Commandos wrapped sealed the game with an TD in the fourth quarter.
Kramer said they’ll will have to improve their conditioning and finer skills before their next game.
“We need to improve our technique because we are a young football team,” Kramer said.
“We had a lot of guys playing both sides of the ball, offence and defence, so you just can’t do that for that long, and you also need to get in better shape.”
Some of it is also polishing it up and preparing for the game’s unpredictable nature, especially for the younger guys who face a steep learning for only their third game of the season.
“Like any bell curve, as we work our way up, we should keep seeing better football every week,” he said.
The Thunderbirds have a bye this week as a third team, the Athabasca Pacers, dropped out of the WFL due to a shortage of players, leaving three teams left. The week after, they head to St. Paul Oct. 5.
As last Friday’s game was the annual Friday Night Lights, the club recognized volunteers Chuck Keller, Jack Adkins, and Barrhead’s Summer Boysen — whose two sons and a daughter played for the club — with long-time service awards.
Pembina Hills Public Schools also recognized teacher and football volunteer Jerry Buchko.
“We’re real thankful to the community for putting this on and all the fans coming out,” Kramer said. “It just makes it special.”