Central Alberta Buccaneers take home a win

Bus back in action at home on June 11th against the St. Albert Stars

BY ZACHARY CORMIER

Lacombe Express

The Central Alberta Buccaneers took a big step towards making their presence in the Alberta Football League felt last Saturday, as they steamrolled the visiting Grande Prairie Drillers in their season opener at ME Global Athletic Park inLacombe.

Led by new starting quarterback Brandon Leyh and newly-acquired receiver Jamal Henry, the Bucs stormed to a 51-16victory over the Drillers in front of their home town crowd.

“A win’s good early. Grande Prairie’s always a tough team that plays physical and hits hard, so it’s a nice way to start the year for sure,” said Bucs’ Head Coach Devon Hand after the win.

The Bucs got the ball rolling early when, on the offense’s first drive of the game, Leyh hooked up with receiver Major Newman in the end zone for a quick six points.

Although the ensuing conversion kick was blocked, it was all Buccaneers from that point on, as the Bucs defense took to the field to do what they do best.

And boy did they deliver, at least in the first three quarters of the game as they stonewalled the Grande Prairie offense atnearly every turn, forcing the Drillers into two and out drives on more than one occasion and allowing the special teams and offense the opportunity to get back on the field and score more points.

Despite the defence’s shutdown performance early in the game, Hand noted he would like to see more consistency fromthem late into games, especially when the offense is rolling like they were on Saturday.

“It’s a little bit concerning defensively because normally we’re a defensively-minded team, so I think when the offense putup some points early, defensively we kind of eased back a little bit, kind of put it in cruise control.”

Fortunately, though, that lack of defensive consistency wouldn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things, as Leyh andthe offense romped to a 40 point lead by the end of the first half.

“It was nice to see the offense get hot and score some points out of the gate early,” Hand said.

“Overall scoring points is always a positive thing.”

Much of that offense was generated by Leyh, who was making his first appearance in the pirate crew’s red and white.

The former Mount Allison University quarterback was dominant for the Bucs as he racked up 16 completions on 22 attempts for a staggering 335 yards and six passing touchdowns and one TD that he took into the house himself.

“We recruited him from Mount Allison. We were able to secure him work in the area and get a great guy that is going to put us over the top,” said Hand, adding the addition of a solid starting QB has been a welcome one for the team.

“In the past we had issues with that, the quarterback position and offense, so this is new to us. We had to make sure we had the right kind of guy to get us over the top and Brandon showed tonight that he can be that guy for sure.”

During the off season, the Bucs went through some major changes in order to sure up the offensive side of the ball. Those changes included adding Leyh at quarterback and a couple of receivers for him to throw to.

On such receiver, who had a very impressive debut on Saturday was Jamal Henry, who made some key catches early on and quickly became Leyh’s favourite target, racking up six catches for 164 yards and two TDs.

“It’s the same story, just different position. We’ve been known as a defensive team for so long and the rest of the league kind of sees us as that. So we put a lot of effort into focusing on the offense and recruiting players and getting the right guys that fit,” Hand said.

They’ll need that offensive support next week as they head north to Edmonton to face off against the Fort McMurray Monarchs in a rematch of last year’s semi-final, when the Monarchs knocked the Bucs out of the playoffs.

“Fort McMurray, obviously, is going to be playing supremely motivated. They have a deep team, they have an excellent coach and they’ll be ready to play us for sure,” Hand said.

That game goes on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Fuhr Field in Edmonton. The Bucs are back at home on June 11th when they host the St. Albert Stars. That game kicks off at 6 p.m. at ME Global Athletic Park in Lacombe.

zcormier@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

Merry Guanas poised to be Lacombe’s first cannabis dispensary

Cannabis retail owner expects a six-month wait before industry comes to city

Lacombe hosts 6th Invasive Species Council Conference at LMC

Council looks to protect native ecological environments in Alberta

Construction along Woodland and Fairway drives

Construction in this area is planned for the week of March 25, 2019

Lacombe’s CACHS Knights girls come up just short at Provincials

Cold shooting second half prevents Lacombe girls from medal round

NDP Leader Rachel Notley stops in Red Deer on campaign trail

Notley promises hospital expansion, cath lab, pipelines and energy industry expansion

WATCH: ‘Napalm Girl’ discusses journey from hatred to forgiveness in Lacombe

Burman University’s Herr Lecture Series welcomed Kim Phuc Phan Thi to Lacombe

Women of Excellence Awards introduces ‘Women of Excellence in Construction’

Gala will take place June 19th at the Sheraton Red Deer

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Teen girl accused in plot to attack Kamloops school with weapons out on bail

Judge warned the girl she would be back in jail if she threatened to shoot anyone

Oil prices, Alberta election call cloud Stampede chuckwagon auction expectations

The top money bid last year came from Versatile Energy Services, Ltd.

Pot industry welcomes decreased edibles tax, but unhappy medical tax remains

Taxes can increase the cost of medical cannabis by as much as 25 per cent

‘It has to send a message:’ Broncos families await sentencing for truck driver

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving and apologized in court

MPs continue voting marathon as Tories protest shutdown of Wilson-Raybould motion

Multiple MPs have resigned from Trudeau’s Liberal cabinet

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Most Read