Winners: Central Alberta Buccanneer No. 27 Mark Fay makes a pass attempt on a break-a-way in a game against the St. Albert Stars

Buccaneers place third in Alberta Football League

On August 8, the Central Alberta Buccaneers faced off against the St. Albert Stars in a game that would decide who would hold third place.

  • Tue Aug 18th, 2015 10:00am
  • Sports

On August 8, the Central Alberta Buccaneers faced off against the St. Albert Stars in a game that would decide who would hold third place in the Alberta Football League. The two teams had identical records going into Saturday’s game and both were deter- mined to reach a record of 5-2. Doing so would secure third place as well as earn a quarter-final home playoff berth.

After four quarters of football in the 28-degree heat, the Bucs would claim third place as their own, with a 19-6 victory over the Stars.

For much of the 2015 season, the Buccaneer offense has been inconsistent: there were brief flashes of brilliance that were marred by miscues, penalties, and missed opportunities. To combat these issues, the Bucs coaching staff made positional changes within the offensive roster, most notably moving #85 Matt Merkley to quarterback and moving #12 Pascal Plante (the Bucs starting QB for much of the 2015 campaign) to fullback. One of the Bucs staff said that “Merkley and Pascal each have tools and abilities that can be utilized in different situations. They are true football players: they will excel in whatever position they are placed.” Plante’s willingness to hit and make contact was well served in the fullback position while Merkley’s pure athletic ability created opportunistic chances.

Within the first three minutes of the game, the pirate offense marched the ball into the Stars redzone, capping with a Merkley-to-Plante touchdown (mirroring the many Plante-to-Merkley touchdowns in prior games). While the offense only scored 15 of the Bucs 19 points (the defense scored two safeties), they were much more dominant than the score would imply. The Buccaneer offense moved the ball via committee: Brett Lapointe #21 ran for over 90 yards, Neil Daniel #7 ploughed his way through Star defenders (narrowly missing a TD in the final seconds of the game), Axsivier Lawrence hauled in numerous Merkley passes, and Marc Glasgow blocked with ferocity.

While the Bucs previous woes with penalties were greatly diminished, there were two touchdowns that were lost due to infractions. “We’ve improved our discipline, but need to keep working,” said one of the Buccaneer squad.

Defensively, the Bucs were as vicious as ever; #8 Troy Pappas, the quarterback for the Stars, was under pressure all night and suffered numerous sacks. As a result, the Stars offense was rarely on the field for longer than two plays before they had to punt the ball away. The pirate special teams flew all over the field, pinning the Stars ball carriers deep while marching with their own. As a result, the Bucs enjoyed favourable field position for much of the game.

At halftime, the Bucs celebrated the conclusion of a season-long fundraiser. Partnered with the Whisker Rescue Society (a shelter for stray cats in Central Alberta), the team sold $2 raffle tickets at each home game that would decide who would “Win a Date with 38” (team chairman and player, Todd Lewis #38). Over 300 tickets were sold and majority of the proceeds went to Whisker Rescue (which will greatly assist in the organization’s daily operations). Jen Sampson of Red Deer won the raffle and, as a result, a date with Todd Lewis.

The Bucs (5-2) are now looking forward to week nine against the 2015 expansion Airdrie Irish (2-5) in their final game of the regular season. While the Irish have had a rocky induction into the AFL (including a 100-0 blowout against the Fort McMurray Monarchs), the Bucs “can’t take them for granted.” In addition to the game, both teams are competing to see which squad can raise the most pledges for the Canadi- an Breast Cancer Foundation. To raise the stakes, the losing team’s chairman has prom- ised to attend his every-day job dressed entirely in pink. Those who wish to donate are asked to message the Bucs facebook page or website: