After scoring 102 points in their first two games, the Central Alberta Buccaneers were nearly shutout week three in a 28-7 loss to the Calgary Gators at home.
The Bucs were undefeated in the regular season last year and scored in bunches to start the 2017 campaign, but suffered their first loss at ME Global Athletic Park in Lacombe on Saturday.
The offence was hardly ever in sync, being shutout in the first half and their only score coming on a Mark Fay fumble recovery in the third quarter. The Gators scored four times in the first half.
Buccaneers head coach Fred Knip chose to look at the positives Saturday, as his team managed to outscore the Gators 7-2 in the second half.
“They came out a little flat. There was a little intimidation. We came in as underdogs. This Calgary team was bigger and faster,” Knip said.
“We thought maybe we could play with them and we did, it took us maybe half a game to get our legs. But what I really liked was that we didn’t give up, we didn’t quit. Yeah we were down 28-0, but we came back and we scored, then we had a couple drives.”
With a few keys players missing on the offensive line, Knip added the Gators defence was really just able to shut them down.
“Maybe our quarterback was a little intimidated,” Knip said.
“Judah (Knip) is a good quarterback, but they saw our film and they closed the gaps really quick. We thought maybe we could run and do a little bit of play action, but boy they filled those gaps so fast.”
Despite being scored on four times in the first 30 minutes of the game, the Bucs defence finished the night with three interceptions, including two by defensive back Tylor Johanneson.
“If I take a look, in the last three games, in the first two games they only scored two touchdowns, a half a touchdown per quarter,” Knip said.
”Here they scored one touchdown per quarter. Really in essence, we had a blip. That happens in life. Did we want to win? Yeah, but I don’t think we expected to go undefeated this season.”
Three games into the year, Knip added the team has already accomplished one of their major goals.
“One of the things I said at the beginning of the year is what hill are we going to die on? This was not one of them,” Knip said.
”The other thing we said at the beginning of the season is we need to win two games and we’re in the playoffs and that’s what we did.”
The loss moves the Bucs to 2-1 on the season and they won’t hit the field again until June 24 when they take on the defending league champion Fort McMurray Monarchs.