o make their record even at three.
On July 19th, the Bucs hosted the Fort McMurray Monarchs in a close game. While the score gap was tight, the Bucs weren’t able to catch up to the Monarchs and lost the game 14-9.
Bucs Coach Duane Brown said that the weather played a large part in the game, particularly in the first half.
“The rain put us in a slow start at the beginning there, we just couldn’t get things rolling,” said Brown.
“It was a huge downpour at the beginning of the game, probably most of the first quarter. Of course, it made the ball very slick, very hard to hold on to.”
Going into the second half of the game, Brown said the weather had improved, but the Bucs were still lagging.
“I don’t know if we were waterlogged or something, but the weather was gorgeous and we just couldn’t seem to get in sync offensively,” said Brown.
“It made for a long, hard, frustrating day.”
Brown said that the Bucs also lost a few yards due to penalties. He added that penalties have been a problem in all of the Bucs’ home games, but for some reason don’t seem to follow them on the road.
“Penalties seem to be a ‘home bug’ problem, I don’t know why,” said Brown.
He added that in the Bucs’ previous two games, the team was practically penalty-free.
Brown went on to say that, while he was disappointed with the quality of the officiating the last time the Bucs played at home, he doesn’t think that is the source of the ‘bug.’
“I wouldn’t put anything on the officials this week, this week it was all on us,” said Brown.
There were positives to come out of the game as well though.
Brown said the Bucs’ defense was very much on form, only allowing one touchdown to be scored while they were on the field (Fort McMurray’s second touchdown was scored with special teams while the defensive line was not in play).
“The defense was amazing,” said Brown. “It really was them just being amazing and not giving (Fort McMurray) anything. It was fun to watch.”
On the offensive side, Matt Merkley also managed to make an outstanding play, running over 90 yards to score the Bucs only touchdown of the game (Lacombe’s other two points came from scoring a safety).
With their next game not until Aug. 9th, the Bucs are taking this week off to rest and recuperate in preparation for the final game of the regular season.
For that game, the Bucs will travel to St. Albert to take on the Stars.
Brown said the Stars have had a back-and-forth season, similar to the Bucs.
With the Bucs in fifth place and the Stars sitting in sixth with a record of 2-4, it will be a big game for both sides.
“They’re not that far behind us,” said Brown. “It’s a huge game for them because it will determine what they do for the first round of playoffs.
“It’s huge for everybody, I think, because it will be a seeding opportunity for playoffs.”
As for what the team needs to do to be successful in that game, Brown said the plan is simple.
“The offensive needs to come together and finally click,” said Brown.
“We’ve had moments of great play and that’s followed up by moments of gosh-awful play. We’ve got to eliminate those gosh-awful moments.”