It took the Yorkton Raiders less than a minute to seize the momentum Saturday.
Once they had it, they never gave it back.
It was the Raiders day as they beat the Central Cyclones 48-22 in Moose Jaw High School Football League semifinal action in Yorkton.
It was a game where nothing seemed to go the Cyclones way, but Central head coach Colin Belsher was proud of the way his team kept fighting.
“I said to the boys before the game that as long as they put everything on the line and left everything on the field — win or lose — it’s not going to hurt as bad. I really felt that that’s what they did,” said Belsher.
“These boys played really hard and with a lot of heart and intensity. Unfortunately Yorkton got a few breaks and ended up winning the game.”
Grayson Locken, one of the Cyclones starting receivers, was injured on the opening kickoff. Two plays later Yorkton’s David Balysky intercepted a pass and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown.
“It just kind of went downhill from there,” Belsher said of the early injury. “We were down seven before we even have two plays.”
The Raiders took a 20-6 lead into the half. The Cyclones thought they had made a momentum-changing play to start the second half, but saw a potential touchdown called back.
“We had two touchdowns called back on us,” said Belsher. “Morgan Lisik had an interception on the second play (of the second half) and returned it for a touchdown. There was a block in the back that negated the touchdown. Then we were unable to punch it in as an offence.”
And so it went.
The Cyclones had a tough time with the Raiders ground game as they racked up 298 yards on the ground. Tyson Hass stepped in at tailback and ran for 159 yards and three touchdowns, while quarterback Dalton Fitchner ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
Forbes and Jonathan Phillips scored touchdowns for the Cyclones who also saw Royce Hanna run for his first offensive touchdown. Hanna’s punt return for a touchdown was a big play in the Cyclones’ quarter-final win.
“Royce Hanna has never played running back before and he always wanted to get one touch on offence,” said Belsher. “We put him in for a sweep and he ran it to the house 64 yard for a touchdown.
“There was a silver lining for some of the kids. There were things that they’re going to take away from this season and from that game. That truly is the most important part.”