The Central Alberta Buccaneers hosted the Lloydminster Vandals on Saturday, kicking off their first home game of the 2017 season.
The Vandals were riding high after a convincing 66-0 blowout against the 2017 expansion team, the Parkland Predators (who only traveled with 13 players). The Bucs were coming off a big win as well – they opened the season with a 44-14 win in Grande Prairie.
After recovering the opening kick, the Bucs marched down the field and scored in one minute and thirty-one seconds. Buccaneer QB Judah Knip was surgical with his passing, finding four different receivers en route to the Vandals end zone. After that initial drive, the Bucs held the momentum for the rest of the game, moving the ball offensively and shutting down the Vandals defensively.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Vandals found the Buc end zone – they managed to complete a series of deep passes, earning them a couple late-game scores. “The Vandals were sportsman – there was no quit in them, even when the score got ugly,” said Riley St. Denis, lineman. Despite last ditch Vandal efforts, the Bucs finished the game in the W column with a 58-14 win.
Receivers Jesse McPhail and Axsivier Lawrence each scored three receiving touchdowns (with 207 and 139 yards, respectively). Head coach Fred Knip praised both receivers’ performance: “Jesse had sticky fingers all game and caught everything thrown to him. Axsivier was a bull and always got extra yards when he shouldn’t have been able to.” Corbin Knip, slotback, said of his QB brother Judah “anytime a quarterback throws for 7 TDs in a game (and for 353 yards), he’s going to be a standout player (and I’m not just saying that because he’s my brother.”
The entire Pirate offense combined for a total of 581 yards: not too shabby for week two.
Looking forward to week 3, the Bucs host the talented Calgary Gators. While the Gators finished third in 2016, they are poised to finish in the top two in 2017; their main barrier to that goal is the Bucs. This will be the biggest test the 2017 Bucs have faced so far in 2017; “It’s going to be the hardest hitting game yet,” said Buccaneer DB Tyson Dichrow.
“They have a large pool in which to draw talent from. We will need to play to every whistle, play from kickoff to finish, and protect our QB,” said o-lineman Dave Young. MEGlobal Athletic Park had over 300 spectators in the stands for the Vandals game and the Bucs are hoping to see even more on June 10. Gate open at 6 p.m., kids get in for free.