Central Alberta Buccaneers receiver Matt Merkley sheds a tackle from a St. Albert Stars player on Saturday at Setters Place at Great Chief Park. The Bucs moved to 4-1 on the season with a dominant 56-8 win. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Brandon Leyh throws 7 TDs, Central Alberta Bucs rout Stars

Central Alberta Buccaneers quarterback Brandon Leyh has torched opposing Alberta Football League defences this season.

On Saturday the veteran pivot tossed seven touchdowns in a dominant 56-8 win over the St. Albert Stars at Great Chief Park.

Leyh leads the league averaging five touchdowns a game before Saturday and had 15 on the season. He threw five of his seven touchdown passes in the first half and connected with receiver Ben Hnatiuk three times.

“(Leyh’s) just a big body in the pocket. He can stand in there and take the hits and still get the ball down the field,” said Hnatiuk.

“I’ve never played with a quarterback that’s been able to do that. Even when it comes down to it, he can get outside the pocket and still throw on the run. Our O-line held it down there. That’s a big part of it.”

The Bucs improved to 4-1 with the win while the Stars dropped to 3-2 on the season. The Fort McMurray Monarchs remain undefeated and are the AFL’s top team.

Tylor Johannesson started the scoring for the Bucs in the first quarter when he returned a missed field goal 110 yards for a touchdown.

Leyh hit Hnatiuk for a 25-yard score late in the quarter and then found Preston Bailey early in the second for another. Leyh connected with Hnatiuk again midway through the second quarter for a 31-yard score and Bailey late in the quarter for his fourth touchdown of the half. He capped off the first half with a 10-yard score to Josh Blanchard.

Stars quarterback Troy Pappas found Adam Nesbitt for the Stars only touchdown of the game.

Hnatiuk caught his third touchdown of the game early in the third quarter.

“It was a good day. Everything worked out perfectly. Our O-line protected the quarterback, allowed him to make moves and throw the ball down the field. It worked out perfectly,” he said.

The Bucs added another score in short order when Blanchard picked up a shovel pass from Leyh and ran it 80 yards for the touchdown.

The Bucs are on the road for their next two contests, with a visit to Grande Prairie to take on the Drillers on July 14 then a trip to St. Albert the following week.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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