The Central Alberta Buccaneers entered the semi-finals on Aug. 29, they were matched up against the Monarchs in Fort McMurray (the #2 seeded team in the AFL). The Monarchs had handed the Bucs one of their two regular season losses, with a score of 33-9.
While the two teams went toe-to-toe for much of the first quarter, the pirates eventually struggled to hold the line against the high-powered Monarchs. The Buccaneer defense (one of the strongest in the AFL) had its hands full trying to contain the power running of the McMurray runningbacks. When on the offensive side of the ball, Buc quarterbacks had little time in the pocket; as a result, running and passing plays were slow to develop. The ball was punted often, which lead to poor field position, which lead to Monarch scoring. The final score was 43-7. Despite playing from behind for the majority of the game, the Bucs “showed a lot of character and stuck together no matter what,” said team captain, Mark Fay. The Monarchs travel to Calgary, September 12th, to battle the Gators for the AFL championship.
When the Bucs began their 2015 season, they did so with one goal in mind: win the AFL title. While they did fall short of that goal, there were many positives to take away from 2015. “The level of accountability and competition was a lot higher this year. We have gone away from the mentality of being a second tier team and began fostering a championship mindset,” said #21 Brett Lapointe. In addition to establishing a new, winning attitude, the Buccaneers have expanded their roster in terms of numbers and talent; these new Bucs will add to the team’s core, establishing a strong foundation to build upon in 2016. Buccaneer veteran cornerback, Tylor Johnson, said “I feel very optimistic going into next season. Our mistakes will be addressed and I know most of us have already started to hit the gym. We didn’t achieve what we wanted, but I know that will fuel the fire.” Additionally, the Bucs will be building off one of its most successful seasons in franchise history. A regular season record of 6-2 and a semi-final berth can hopefully be a launchpad for success in 2016.
The offseason for 2016 began immediately after the final whistle in Fort McMurray – the Buccaneer coaching staff and executive are in the process of recruiting new players as well as new team sponsors and partnerships.
The Bucs would like to thank the numerous people and organizations that made 2015 possible. Volunteers donated their time and energy so that gamedays ran smoothly; sponsorship support and investment covered many of the team’s expenses; the Whisker Rescue Society and the Line of Hope were fantastic partners and co-organizers of key community events; the Lacombe Athletic Park Association was a huge help all season and ensured we had a place to call home; and, most importantly, the fans showed outstanding support and Buccaneer pride. Thank you, see you in 2016.