TOUGH LOSS – Central Alberta Buccaneers team captain Mark Fay was left searching recently as he looked for an open pass during a game against the Calgary Gators at the Bucs’ home opener. They were defeated by the Gators 50-6.

Gators trample Bucs in home opener

The Central Alberta Buccaneers had a tough time last week as they lost their home opener to the Calgary Gators with a final score of 50-6.

The Central Alberta Buccaneers had a tough time last week as they lost their home opener to the Calgary Gators with a final score of 50-6.

Chairman Todd Lewis said that he hopes the team can build on the experience prior to their next game.

“The first quarter we were hanging right in with them and it looked like we had the edge, momentum-wise at least. We had favourable field position, so we were on their end of the field more than they were on ours. Late in the first quarter, they got a big score on us and I think that was due to a big penalty and it took the wind out of our sails a little bit,” Lewis said.

“It kind of set them up for the second quarter where they scored 28 points on us in one quarter – that’s just bad. It’s a myriad of issues as to why that happened, really.

“Our offensive line struggled to hold the Gators’ defensive line as well as their blitzing line. There was pressure coming from all over the place and we struggled to pick up on that. As a result, our quarterbacks had not a lot of time to pass. Our receivers did a great job of getting open, but there just wasn’t any time to pass so the ball wasn’t getting to them.”

The Calgary Gators are a strong contender in the league. Both the Gators and Buccaneers had won their first games with lots of room, but the Gators pulled ahead at ME Global Athletic Park.

Lewis said there were a number of factors that contributed to the loss, from the Gators’ skill to the members of the Bucs being a little shaken by the Gators’ quick turnaround. He said all areas of the team walked away with something to work on.

“Our punt team was awesome in the first quarter. We got deep punts and were recovering really well but from then on, they weren’t blocking very well. We covered the ball okay but not as well as we should have been.  As a result, our field position suffered and when you don’t have favourable field position it doesn’t matter what team you’re on – offense, defence or a speciality – it’s going to be an uphill battle,” he said.

“Our defence covered receivers perfectly, but (the Gators’) quarterbacks were throwing perfect throws that you really can’t defend against.”

The Bucs did not have a good week of practice leading up to the game, with meetings cancelled due to severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings. Lewis said this was no excuse for the loss, but he hoped his team would get more time to work together prior to their next game.

“You’re never happy to have a loss, you always want a victory but I think it was a good eye-opener for the team. I think it’s going to make the guys even more determined to get to practice, work hard, be ready for week three and we’ll take it to Grande Prairie and do well there. Offensively and defensively we need to amp up our game a little bit,” Lewis said.

“It seems like when there’s an opportunity for the Gators, they seize on it and that’s because they’re a good football team. That said, they made some lucky plays as well. It seemed like the coin flip was always going in their direction and that kind of brought our guys down.

“Our lines need to tighten up and get a chip on their shoulder for this week’s practices and take that into our game on Saturday.”

The Bucs will head to Grande Prairie to take on the Drillers for week three.

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com