With just one loss in five games, the Central Alberta Buccaneers are heading full of confidence into what could be the biggest game of their season.
Coming off the back of a comfortable 66-6 win over the Lloydminster Vandals earlier this month, the Buccaneers — who play in the men’s Alberta Football League (AFL) — will take on the vastly experienced Fort McMurray Monarchs on Saturday (July 25).
But they’ll do so with plenty of momentum behind them — the Buccaneers haven’t lost since June 13 when they fell 50-6 to the Calgary Gators.
“If we can start to put consistent scores on the board through long drives, we will have a chance at competing against and beating Fort Mac,” said offensive co-ordinator Aaron Sheppard. “If we play at our potential, we can undoubtedly compete with any team in this league.”
Matt Merkley, one of several Sylvan Lake players on the Buccaneers’ roster, said the victory against Lloydminster was an example of the team’s offence having “finally clicked.”
“Our play calling was good and there weren’t many player miscues,” he said. “We were determined to win.”
But they’ll need to stay at the height of their game on Saturday when they face the Monarchs — whose roster boasts a number of university- and NCAA-experienced players.
The Monarchs currently sit in second in the AFL — behind the Calgary Gators and one spot ahead of the Buccaneers. They’ve also put in some solid performances of late, having defeated the Airdrie Irish a record-setting 100-0 earlier this month.
A win for the Buccaneers would mark a major step in their defence of second-place in the league.
The game kicks off at 6 p.m. on Saturday (July 25) at MEGlobal Athletic Park in Lacombe. In keeping up with the Buccaneers’ strong community spirit, a clothing drive will be held in conjunction with the game. Spectators are encouraged to bring various items of clothing as outlined on the Central Alberta Buccaneers Facebook page.
Spectators can also purchase a $2 raffle ticket for a chance to ‘Win a Date with 38’ — a season-long fundraiser being held in support of Whisker Rescue.
The Buccaneers’ roster comprises players from all over the region, including Sylvan Lake. The team plays its home games in Lacombe.