The Central Alberta Buccaneers continued to show growth as they closed out their regular season with a decisive 47-0 victory over the St. Albert Stars.
The Bucs’ had their focus on this matchup for weeks, as third place in the Alberta Football League (AFL) was on the line.
“We were pleasantly surprised with the outcome,” Offensive Tackle Vince Roth said. “Our guys performed awesome over the weekend and it is a good way to end the season and start the playoffs. No ifs, ands or doubts about it — no one expected that score. We will take it.”
Head Coach Fred Knip said that this was one of the best Bucs outings to date.
“This was probably the best game we played this year in terms of discipline and focus,” he said. “We played on all cylinders and played as a complete unit. There was great cohesion today. There was an electricity on the bench and in the dressing room. We were well prepared.”
The Bucs’ offence has been key to their recent success, with the new found cohesion leading to an intimidating mix between offence and defence.
“It is a huge pat on the back for the ‘O’,” Roth said. “We are spreading the scoring around with Tanner (Olstead) at wide-receiver, who hauled in four. That takes pressure off of Jesse (McPhail) and X (Axzivier Lawrence) at slot. Not only have we jelled and come together, we also just have more weapons now. That makes us more dangerous and tougher to defend against.”
Roth said the offence is finding its way will be key in the playoffs, with a familiar foe on the horizon.
“Ultimately, the goal is to go to the finals. We want another shot at Fort McMurray (Monarchs) in the playoffs,” he said.
The first task to making it to Fort Mac will be handling the Lloydminster Vandals, a rematch from last year’s playoffs.
“If we stick to the basics and work with what we have; I think we will be able to handle Lloyd,” Roth said. “You can’t sleep on any team. Based on the last game, I know they didn’t travel well. I think we can expect more from them because it being playoffs. In this league, teams travel better in playoffs. There is more riding on the game and theirs and our season is at stake. They will bring more than they brought last time.
“We have all the defensive tools we need to handle their offense and offensively we are hitting our stride.”
While the Bucs aren’t looking past the Vandals, they will need to fire on all cylinders to take down the Monarchs on their home turf.
“Everything always needs fine tuning and polish,” Roth said. “I would like to see our ground game and our short yardage situations get better. That has been one area we need to work on. We’ll be second with three yards to go and we’ll end up punting. We have the tools, we just have to use them properly to convert those second down conversions.”
Bucs versus Vandals will commence on Aug. 12th at 6 p.m. at the MEGlobal Athletic Park. Tickets are $5 at the door.
“I think we have the best atmospheres in the league as far as home games go,” Roth said. “Our announcer is amazing. He has been great for us and keeps our crowd engaged. When the crowd is engaged, it is more fun as a player to play for them.
“If you add the playoff atmosphere to that, I think it will be an awesome night. We want to see MEGlobal full on the 12th, so we will work on a few things to make sure it is more then just a regular football game.”