Bucs finally plunder the Wolfpack, 34-28

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled their way to a win over the Calgary Wolfpack July 6 for the first time in 12 years.

Fullback Dylan Vanier of the Buccaneers rumbles past Wolfpack defenders July 6.

Fullback Dylan Vanier of the Buccaneers rumbles past Wolfpack defenders July 6.

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled their way to a win over the Calgary Wolfpack July 6 for the first time in 12 years. Since the team’s creation, in 2002, the Bucs have been unable to best their Calgary rivals.

The Wolfpack travelled north to take on the (2-1) to vie for second in the AFL. The Pack got off to a quick start and marched the ball steadily down to the Bucs’ end zone. Despite a slow start, the Bucs managed to bounce back. QB Byron Stearns was able to send pinpoint passes to his receivers. In particular, WR Matt Merkley was a favourite target of Stearn. The Pack’s secondary was unable to cover Merkley as he managed to haul in several passes for large offensive gains. FB Dylan Vanier was also an offensive threat. He bulldozed his way through multiple Pack defenders for yards, first downs, and a touchdown late in the second quarter. The Bucs finished the first half of the game in the lead, 17-7.

After halftime, the Bucs expanded their lead to 34-14. The Pack, however, showed why they are considered a perennial powerhouse when they narrowed the gap to 34-28. With two minutes left, the Buccaneer defense managed to stall three different Wolfpack offensive drives until, finally, the game was over. The Bucs finished victorious for the first time against the Calgary Wolfpack, 34-28.

Gators hand Buccaneers their first loss

On June 22 the Calgary Gators took on the Central Alberta Buccaneers in Lacombe. Head coach Duane Brown knew that the game was going to be a struggle between the teams’ defenses. A defensive battle “is what you expect from two championship-calibre teams.”

Neither the Bucs’ nor the Gators’ offense was able to move the ball consistently. There were no points on the board until the Gators managed to score late in the first quarter. The Bucs’ offense was unable to respond and was forced to punt often.

For the remainder of the game, the Gators were unable to score another touchdown. However, they did kick a pair of field goals after the Bucs’ defense slowed their offensive drives. The Bucs managed to score a couple of safeties after the defense tackled the Gator ball-carriers deep in their own end zone. The final score was 13-4.

Brown was also pleased with the play of three young rookie players: Corban Knip, Dakota Haarstad and Dustin Bomback. The trio played their senior year of high school football in Lacombe last fall and “all played very well on special teams and earned tremendous respect for how they are improving while playing at this level.” The Bucs’ defensive secondary also performed well, recording five interceptions and multiple knockdowns.

The Bucs play the 2013 expansion team, the St. Albert Stars on July 13 6 p.m., at Lacombe’s MEGlobal Field. Both teams are 3-1 and are vying for the number 2 position in the AFL, as well as a quarter-final bye in the playoffs. This will be the Bucs’ last home game of the regular season and fans should expect a hard-hitting, entertaining game.

— Bucs Banter