There is only one game between the Lacombe Raiders and a league title.
Last Saturday, the Lacombe Raiders dominated the Sylvan Lake Lions 80 – 6 to secure a spot in the Central Football League final, which will be held here in Lacombe this weekend.
Coach Mike Wood said that he and the team are confident going into the championship game.
“I believe that we are ready for a championship,” said Wood. “These boys and girls are pumped. They are ready for it.”
Last Saturday’s game was an opportunity for Raiders quarterback David Mueller to shine. Mueller made a number of long runs and passes that led to touchdowns for the Raiders.
Lacombe’s offense was on form, bowling over Sylvan Lake’s defense and seeming unstoppable as they marched up the field.
Empowering Mueller to make the best decisions on the field was a key for last Saturday’s game, said Wood. He added this has a trickle-down effect for the rest of the team. Undefeated this season, the Raiders have won most of their games by wide score margins. However, in the league final they will face Strathmore, who are also undefeated and have allowed only one more point against them than the Raiders.
Strathmore also beat Stettler for their spot in the league final. Up until now, Stettler was the biggest challenge Lacombe faced in the league, beating them by the smallest margin of any game, 18 – 12. Clearly, the Raiders will have to be in top form to pull off a win this weekend.
Mueller said the key to a victory against Strathmore this weekend will be keeping level-headed. Even though the semi-final and many other games this season have been one-sided victories for Lacombe. “We have to remember they are a better team than the ones we have played before.”
He added the Raiders have great team chemistry and work together well as a unit. He also said the fact the Raiders play as a team might just be the team’s biggest strength.
“No one person is going to win the game. If we just play together like we can I think we will win.”
This has been a successful season for the Raiders. Throughout the year, they have enjoyed wins and all the players have demonstrated great talent on the field.
Mueller said the efforts of the Raiders’ excellent coaching staff deserve much of that credit. He added that there has also been great leadership on the field, echoing sentiments Wood has shared through much of the season.
Both Wood and Mueller said they are confident in the Raiders’ abilities going into the final game. They added that, as long as the team plays as strongly as they have all year, they will have no problem taking home the championship title.
Lacombe will take on Strathmore in the Central Alberta Football League Championship at ME Global Field on Nov. 2 at 3 p.m.