An early touchdown by Receiver Branden Siemens put the Central Alberta out to an early 7-1 lead against the visiting Fort McMurray Monarchs in AFL semi-final action. (Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express)

Central Alberta Buccaneers punch ticket to AFL Final

28-20 win over Fort Mac sets up likely date against Calgary Wolf Pack

After the Cold Lake Fighter were disqualified from the Alberta Football League (AFL) playoffs, the Central Alberta Buccaneers were awarded a home playoff game against their rivals — the Fort McMurray Monarchs — in a game that would decide who would play in the AFL Finals.

Despite giving up a single point off the opening kickoff, it would be the Bucs’ would who would hammer the first nail when receiver Branden Siemens caught a 28-yard pass from Quarterback Jarrett Burzuk to put Central Alberta up 7-1.

The Monarchs would have the answer, however, early in the first quarter after an ill-advised roughing-the-kicker penalty by the Bucs’ led to a long touchdown, putting Fort McMurray up 8-7. The Monarchs would add to their lead as time expired in the second half with a field goal, leading tot he half time score of 11-7 Fort Mac.

It wouldn’t be long before Ben Hnatiuk, the constant hero of the 2019 Bucs, wouldn’t allow the Monarchs lead to hold in the second half when he scored his first touchdown of the playoffs, which was preceded by a huge interception by Todd Lewis — giving the Bucs’ back the lead at 14-11. Hnatiuk would continue to carry the load near the end of the third quarter — stretching the lead to 21-12 heading into the final frame.

“Every time the ball is thrown to him, I don’t even need to watch and somehow he comes down with it. He is incredible,” Bucs’ receiver Tylor Johannesson said about Hnatiuk.

The fourth quarter was dominated by Johannesson, intercepting a ball at midfield early in the quarter and then adding to the lead with a touchdown — leading to a score of 28-12.

Johannesson said he got more comfortable after Lewis’ earlier interception.

“Guys were fired up and that was pretty awesome,” he said

The Monarchs would make the game interesting with a late touchdown, followed by the two-point conversion — but it wouldn’t be enough to stop Central Alberta from advancing to the AFL Finals, winning 28-20.

Johannesson credited a change in defence to the Bucs’ success.

“We were having troubles stopping the run. We are a little small but we are quick, so we changed it up. It started being successful and we have the personnel. You could see it. Guys were flowing,” he said.

The Bucs’ will likely take on the number one ranked Calgary Wolf Pack on the road in search of their very first AFL title.

“I expect us to go in there and shut them down. I honestly think Fort Mac was a bit tougher of a test defensively but the Wolf Pack have a better passing game. We will be prepared and we expect to win,” he said.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Lacombe mayor attends fall Mid-Sized Mayors’ Caucus

Caucus highlights fiscal responsibility

Lacombe Canadian Archery champion finishes 10th at worlds

Cameron Herbert has been a competitive archer for 10 years

Lacombe County: Do you have a gated property? Here’s what you need to know.

These gates are a deterrent for rural crime, they can also impede on emergency personnel

Lacombe Police Service joins North American rail-safety operation aimed at reducing preventable deaths and injuries on rail lines

Operation Clear Track aims to reduce the number of railway crossing and trespassing incident

WATCH: Enhanced Emergency Department opens at Lacombe Hospital

$3.1 million facility jointly funded by AHS, Lacombe Health Trust

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

Judge finds Alberta couple not guilty in toddler son’s death

It was the second trial for the Stephans, who were found guilty by a jury in 2016

Alberta couple charged in toddler son’s death to learn fate from judge

David and Collet Stephan are charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life

Alberta government pitching that small rural areas pay for policing: NDP

Those 291 districts represent about 20 per cent of the Alberta population

Alberta inquiry into oil and gas foes could face legal challenge from Ecojustice

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has repeatedly accused U.S. charities of bankrolling efforts

Yearbook photo surfaces of Trudeau wearing ‘brownface’ costume in 2001

The report describes the occasion as an ‘Arabian Nights’-themed gala event

‘Troubling, insulting’: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh reacts to Trudeau’s brownface photo

Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democrats, responded with a call for love after Trudeau photos surface

VIDEO: Party leaders react to Trudeau’s brownface photo bombshell

Fallout from Justin Trudeau’s brownface photo, and two other instances, sure to dominate campaign

Most Read