Halfway through their football season, Lacombe’s Bantam Raiders are doing quite well.
Already boasting a lossless season thus far, the Raiders added another game to the win column after steamrolling the Hunting Hills High School Lightning 46 – 0 at MEGlobal Field last weekend.
Mike Wood, head coach for the Raiders, said that all of the games thus far have been won with fairly large margins and he attributes the Raiders’ success to its experienced roster.
“We have a very strong team,” said Wood. “They are very hungry and want to win.”
Saturday’s game began well for the Raiders, who wasted no time establishing a substantial lead over their opponents from Red Deer. Lacombe’s Raiders then continued that lead throughout the entire game, not once letting the Lightning score.
Even with the insurance policy of such a sizeable lead, the Raiders never let off. Even the few slip-ups the team made didn’t set them back at all as Hunting Hills High School failed to capitalize on Lacombe’s mistakes.
Wood said that the team has 18 returning players and the team’s rookies are also showing a lot of promise. He added that the talent and leadership of the Raiders’ core players, quarterback David Muellar, who Wood said is “Probably the best, quarterback in the league”, linebacker James Wood and running back Ben Arifin contributes greatly to the Raiders success.
Coaches can also take some credit for the incredible season the Raiders have been having, said Wood. He added the full coaching staff of the Raiders know that they are another strength that supports the already talented team.
There are still three more games in the Raiders’ regular season. Wood said the real test for the Raiders will be when they face-off against Stettler during Football Day in Lacombe on Sept. 28. Like the Raiders, Stettler also has a strong roster and has been beating teams “Quite handily,” said Wood.
While the Raiders have a strong roster and a strong team, there are a few things, like tackling on defense and timing on offense, said Wood. However, Wood said he is comfortable the Raiders are in good shape for the rest of the season.
“The rest will come.”
Wood went on to say that the Raiders coaching philosophy is to develop the players so that they are better in the next season, regardless of whether they will be returning as Raiders or moving onto other teams.
“Having that philosophy, we’ve grown into a team that wins quite consistently,” said Wood. He added basics and fundamentals are key for this coaching formula and therefore are also the key to why the Raiders are such a strong team.
Every year, the Raiders set a goal to win a provincial title, said Wood. He said that, were the post-season to begin immediately, he would expect the Raiders to perform well.
“I’m extremely confident in our team for sure.”
Next game for the Lacombe Bantam Raiders is at 11 a.m. on Sept. 21 at MEGlobal Field. Come out and see the Raiders take on Ponoka.