It’s a tough pill to swallow.
After their best season ever, the Central Alberta Buccaneers’ hopes for an Alberta Football League Championship Title came to a grinding halt when they lost 15 – 3 to the St. Albert Stars last Sunday.
Head Coach Duane Brown said the Bucs’ weakness in this game was one they have struggled with all season.
“Our Achilles’ heel was the same Achilles’ heel we have had all year – our inconsistent offense,” said Brown. “We couldn’t get any movement and when we did we turned around and shot ourselves in the foot with a turnover, with a fumble, or with a penalty.”
Brown’s comments pretty much sum up how the game went on Aug. 11. While the Bucs were ahead in the first half, they failed to gain any momentum and ended the half only three points ahead of the scoreless Stars.
Whenever the Bucs got their hands on the ball in the second half, they began a slow and steady march up the field towards the end zone, but each time they got close, some kind of mistake turned the tides against them.
It was those mistakes that ultimately cost the Buccaneers the game and their shot at an Alberta Football League championship, said Brown.
He said that the Bucs should have built on the lead they had at the end of the first half. Unfortunately things don’t always work out the way you want.
“The first we were in the lead, the second half we should have dominated,” said Brown. “They took it to us in the second half. Hats off to them, they played a hell of a game.”
There were no surprises from the Stars on Sunday, said Brown, they just came out and played hard. “They did absolutely nothing different than what we expected them to do,” said Brown. He added that the difference was the Stars’ execution. While the Stars were following their game plan, errors on the Bucs part ended up costing them yards and thereby points as well.
“When you have guys make silly mistakes, it costs them,” said Brown.
While the Bucs’ defensive line was solid as always, they can’t stop every single play they face. Any team can capitalize on a lucky break and Brown said that is exactly what happened on the Stars’ scoring plays.
“Like it was all season long, our defense was the heart and soul of this team today,” said Brown. “Our inconsistent offence was the backbreaker.”
Not only did the Bucs play a spectacular defensive game, the Stars also stepped up their defensive performance since the last time they visited Lacombe.
“It was just one of those days where the head didn’t follow the heart,” said Brown.
Looking forward to next season, he said he foresees a lot of turnover within the team.
He said it is unfortunate the team will be losing some of its veterans, but the team is aging and many players who have been playing for a decade or more can’t play forever.
Brown added that there was also some great new talent that rose from within the Bucs’ ranks this season. He said he is confident that the Bucs can continue to build a solid team around the younger players that have shown great promise this season.