The Central Alberta Buccaneers took care of business against the Calgary Wolfpack and now are eyeballing an Alberta Football League Championship game against the Fort McMurray Monarchs.
In the semi-final on Aug. 18th, the Bucs’ were expecting a different team than the one they blew out earlier in the season — but the solid effort of Bucs’ third string quarterback Jarrett Burzuk ultimately led to a 38-13 victory on home turf.
“Our gameplan worked well for us,” Offensive Guard Vince Roth said. “He did a good job of filling the void, with Brandon (Leyh) being unavailable last night. All in all, we operated as a team well and executed well. That is when you get the outcomes you want.”
Roth credited Burzuk with operating the offence to victory.
“He showed a lot of composure and poise back there,” Roth said. “He played a hell of a game for us.”
The Bucs’ are now staring down their arch rival Fort McMurray, with league passing leader Leyh’s status still unknown.
“It is wait and see,” Roth said. “He is pretty tender but he is also pretty tough. It will be a game time thing. If he practices this week, we will go from there. It was great to be able to do that to give him a chance to heal up a bit.”
Roth, who has been part of the Monarch-Buccaneers rivalry since 2016, is ready for the opportunity to finally take down the Monarchs.
“It is a championship game. We can’t leave anything in the tank, regardless of how it goes,” he said. “We are confident we can pull out the win. The National Championship won’t be for a few weeks after that, so there is no reason to leave anything.”
Even if Leyh is unable to go, Roth feels the team has the weapons to beat Fort McMurray.
“We were able to get our run game going and that is to his (Burzuk) credit,” Roth said. “He is a smaller guy with wheels, so he can be pretty evasive back there. With him and some of the guys we slotted in at running back — we have a lot of weapons now. It was good to get that out and alive last night.”
The defence will be the key focus for the AFL Championship.
“If you look at the final score of the last game, it wasn’t indicative of what the game was,” Roth said. “There was two and half minutes left before they took the lead. We held them to under 14 points for 57.5 minutes. If we can continue to do that and keep it locked to the end of the game, with some scoring support from the offence — we will be in good shape.”
The Monarchs running up the score is something the Bucs’ are hoping to get some revenge for.
“You never forget when a team decides to punch one more in with three seconds. That is not football and we won’t forget that at all,” Roth said.
The game next weekend in Fort Mac will be a repeat of 2016, when the Monarchs beat the Bucs’ in Lacombe.
“For some of the vets on the team, we haven’t forgot 2016. They came to Lacombe and beat us at home in the Championship. It would be an amazing feeling to repay that feeling,” he said.
Roth also expects some local support on the road.
“Last time we went and played in Fort Mac, they had an impressive facility but their crowds didn’t blow me away. I am not too worried about it and by the sounds of it, we will have a good group of people travelling with us as well,” Roth said.