The Prairie Fire Football Club is three games into their Calgary and Area Midget Football Association season and are already proving to be one of the most resilient teams in the league.
After dropping their first game 31-14 to the Calgary Cowboys, they have rallied in the second half to win both of their next two games — 30-9 over the Calgary Mavericks and 22-16 over the Calgary Broncos last weekend.
On Friday night, they will finally play their first home game of the season, hosting the Calgary Hilltoppers (2-1) at ME Global Athletic Park in Lacombe at 7:15 p.m.
“In a tough league like the one we play in, I think it’s important for your kids to show resiliency and the ability to play a full game of football and to play their best football at the end of the game,” said head coach Chris Hall. “It’s a good indicator of the character of our team.”
The Hilltoppers are one of the league’s top running teams and will put a lot of pressure on the Fire’s defence, but Hill says they will be prepared for it.
“You focus on fundamentals, which is being in the right spot and sound tackling,” said Hall. “You trust your athletes to make plays which is what it comes down to once the game is on.”
Hall is impressed with his defence, particularly his secondary, led by Lindsay Thurber Raiders defensive back and captain Dawson McCrea.
“I like how tough we are against the run, primarily our front four — our defensive line — is playing quite well,” he said. “Our linebackers are flying around to the ball and protecting the perimeter of the field and our defensive backs have been our best surprise so far this year, they’re playing really well against the run and the pass.”
Offensively, they run a bit more of a diversified offence than their opponents, lead by Lacombe Rams quarterback David Mueller.
“David’s a dual threat type of quarterback, he can run and he can throw, he’s really good at both,” said Hall. “We’ve got three strong running backs, we rotate those guys through so they are fresh and then our passing game is getting better every game.”
A win on Friday will make it three in a row for the Fire, but almost as important is a strong showing on their home field as they play just two games in Lacombe all season with four in Calgary.
“We just want to get better every game and keep building on the success we’ve had so far this year,” said Hall. “Being our home opener our guys are playing in front of their friends and family so we want to show everybody what Fire football looks like, and that’s a tough, aggressive brand of football.”