The Central Alberta Buccaneers dominated ME Global Athletic Park during their recent game against the Lloydminster Vandals, taking home a score of 66-6.
Amidst several penalties, calls of misconduct and the loss of numerous would-be touchdowns (penalties and flags), the boys still managed to take a hefty lead on the Vandals and held on through the game.
Bucs Coach Devon Hand was pleased with his team’s performance.
“You’ve got to give those guys a lot of respect for coming all the way down here with a light squad, in the heat, and competing the way that they did. They are a bunch of classy guys, tough guys – you’ve got to give them a lot of respect for that,” he said.
“On our side, I thought we competed and we did what we set out to do which was to make a statement game, run the ball, score some points, play good defence and get physical – I think we did a really good job with those things.”
At 11 minutes into the first quarter, the Bucs took the lead with the first touchdown secured by Junior Rivera. Rivera kept busy in the first half of the game running plays with great success.
Also in the first quarter, Vandals quarterback Mike Holman scored the first and only touchdown for the team. Bucs captain Mark Fay was successful in blocking the field goal, keeping the Vandals at six points.
As the game drew on, the Bucs showed no signs of slowing down. The team was focused, energetic and aggressive. Bucs defensive back Tylor Johanesson helped out the team in the second quarter with a massive interception to touchdown, running 88 yards and hitting his field goal to bring the score to 31-6.
“If you just throw the ball at (Johanesson), and there’s no receiver in the air, he’s going to make the play every time. He’s a big play specialist so if you make mistakes around him he’s going to capitalize on them every time,” said Hand.
The Vandals decided to safety late in the second quarter and surrendered their two points to bring the score to 43-6 just before halftime.
Player and President of the Lloydminster Vandals Glen Dembicki said his team knew they were in for a tough game, but were still going to work hard. The Vandals had a short roster for the game but still played with commitment.
“Sometimes you know that you’re going to be in a battle, so you try to play it safe and play a bit smarter when you know you’re short staffed like that. You might run or kick one out of bounds when you wouldn’t normally. You’ve just got to line up from the guy across from you and play ball,” Dembicki said.
“We got the win last week, and we’ve got three games out of our next four that we feel we can win. Home is crazy with this league, and when you have a small roster and you go on the road, it seems to be compounded so much more. We definitely feel like we’ve got the arrow pointing up from the last few seasons.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys and a good core group of guys, and a more local team to Lloyd now so it’s more of a hometown feel than it was when we had a lot of travelling players,” he added.
Tanner Green of the Buccaneers had a big game with several noteworthy plays – including running over 75 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. He helped secure many points for the team. Hand said Green had run exceptionally well in their recent Grande Prairie game and they decided to let him do it again this weekend.
“(Green) is the yin to (Rivera’s) yang. He’s the power guy, Junior’s the outside guy and they’re both very good. We made the decision to run the ball because of how Tanner ran in practice and how he ran in Grande Prairie. He had 76 yards and four carries, and his carries here will be well over 10 or 12 yards – he’s a beast,” said Hand.
The Bucs continued to dominate the gridiron and walked away with a 60 point lead – a total of 66 for the Bucs and six for the Vandals.
The Bucs now have an important game coming up on July 25th where they will face off against the Fort McMurray Monarchs.
“With Fort Mac – last I heard, they’re doing the same thing we are – they’re making statements in games and are looking to put on us. We lost to the Gators, Fort Mac lost to Gators, so really the winner of our game gets the first round buy-in for playoffs, so this is huge. It’s going to be a pretty wild game,” said Hand.
The game will commence at 6 p.m. at ME Global Field.