It’s the end of the season for the Central Alberta Buccaneers.
On Aug. 16th, the Bucs traveled to Grande Prairie to take on the Drillers in their first playoff game of the season.
Unfortunately it turned it would also be the team’s only post-season game this year as they were defeated in a close game 20-8.
Bucs Coach Duane Brown said the game was tight.
“It was a close, well-fought game right until the fourth quarter,” said Brown.
Brown said the Bucs had a good start to the quarterfinal match, controlling the ball almost exclusively early in the game and commanding a 6-0 lead until late in the first half. However, a long pass and subsequent touchdown led to the Drillers leading by one point at halftime.
Still very much in the game, the Bucs managed to hold the Drillers at that score until late into the third quarter and even managed to take the lead back late in the third. However, the Drillers managed to overcome the Bucs and slip away from their grasp late in the third with another long touchdown-scoring pass.
Brown said the Bucs still played well in their final game. He said the defense was very strong and the offence did a good job of moving the ball up the field.
It was the trio of big offensive plays by Grande Prairie and a lack of finishing power from the Bucs own defense that lost them the game, said Brown.
“Unfortunately we just couldn’t get it across the goal line. Our offensive yards were probably the most yardage we’ve had all year. We moved the ball extremely well, we just couldn’t get that final 15 yards.”
Last year, the Bucs made history with their best season since inception. While they lost out in the Alberta Football League final, the Bucs only had one loss in the regular season and were sitting comfortable in first place in the league standings as the post-season began.
For the football team, coming off their strongest season ever and even starting this season with a strong 36-17 over the Calgary Wolfpack, it is something of a disappointing finish this year, said Brown.
“Looking back, unfortunately it was a little bit of a disappointment because we had higher hopes.”
Brown attributed the weak season to a young roster. He said that many of the Bucs’ veteran players were injured or otherwise lost and in the last three quarters of the season most of the players were rookies.
However, having such a young roster this year means the Bucs have laid the groundwork for a strong team next season, added Brown. Having so many young players obtain so much on-field game experience this season means they will be ahead of the game come next spring.
Brown went on to say that he sees strong potential in the up and coming young Bucs players.“We have a very good, young core to this team that we can build around for years,” said Brown.