Coyotes and Cougars battle in playoff semi-final

The Chinook Coyotes head south to battle the Cardston Cougars tonight in a win-or-go-home game. The Coyotes finished the regular season 5-3 and then beat the Catholic Central Cougars 35-12 in a playoff game last week to advance to the semi-finals.

Chinook coach Nick Straat said, “It’s the semi-final for our zone so the winner will host the winner from Medicine Hat. Then the winner of that will go to the provincials for the south zone in tier two.”

Cardston was the No. 1 seed for tier two after league play, finishing 4-3 and having a bye last week while the other teams played to move on. In an earlier game this season, Cardston beat Chinook 14-7.

Straat said the blueprint for coming out on top against Cardston is similar to the one that got them the win last week.

“It came down to a lot of minor adjustments and one of our biggest focuses is just on execution. Running the plays how they’re supposed to be run. Guys knowing what they’re doing and not taking the penalties that we’ve taken in the last few weeks that have cost us.”

“I think we’ve got a good game plan going in,” he said. “You never know. We know it’s going to be a tough game; Cardston’s a tough team. They played us really tough last time and beat us by a touchdown. We know we’re going to get their best game of the year and we feel like we’re ready. We’ve had a good week (and) done a lot of things right in practice.”

Cardston coach Josh Watson said that during the bye week, his team has been working on controlling what’s in their power.

“We worked on our execution and making sure we minimised our mistakes, just fixing all the things that we can fix. Just preparing to play Chinook. They’re a good team, a physical team. We just need to be able to match their physicality.”

The game begins at 7 p.m. tonight in Cardston.

Cal Braid, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Lethbridge Herald