The Central Alberta Buccaneers are 0-1 to start the Alberta Football League season after a loss to the Fort McMurrary Monarchs in week 2. They’ll host the Airdrie Irish Saturday in their home opener at Setters Place at Great Chief Park. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Bucs kick off AFL season with loss, looking forward to home opener

Central Alberta Buccaneers to play franchise’s first game in Red Deer Saturday

The Central Alberta Buccaneers got served a slice of humble pie to start the Alberta Football League season.

After a bye in week 1, the Bucs were handed a 32-10 loss by the Fort McMurray Monarchs, who won the league and a national title in 2016.

Team spokesperson and offensive lineman Vince Roth said the result up north was largely a bit of rust and getting used to some new systems both offensively and defensively, something he expects to be worked out by Saturday.

“Typical first game of the year type jitters,” said Roth after reviewing the game tape. “Some of that stuff shook itself out as the game went on. Unfortunately, it was too late … We probably beat ourselves more than the Monarchs beat us.”

This Saturday marks the first ever Bucs home game in Red Deer, after playing seven seasons in Lacombe at MEGlobal Athletic Park.

They’ll square off against the 2-0 Airdrie Irish, who earned wins against the Grande Prairie Drillers and Calgary Wolfpack in their opening two contests.

Roth said he thinks the Bucs will be much better suited to pick up a win against Airdrie in the home opener after some adjustments this week.

“We’re really excited about the new home field,” Roth said.

“It’s a beautiful venue … the potential for having a good crowd is huge. We’re hoping the city of Red Deer can really show up and back us. Should be a good night.”

Some bad news for the Bucs this week before the home opener came in the form of the absence of last year’s league-leading wide receiver Axsivier Lawrence. He’s out for the remainder of the season.

Off the field, the team will also participate in the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event on Thursday, a tradition they started last year. Roth added it’s always an easy decision to get out in the community and support events like the walk.

“There’s a big team value to be involved where we can and the community gives us everything. Without the community, we wouldn’t exist. So, for us to give back where ever we can, we like to take those opportunities to pitch and help out all of Central Alberta,” Roth said.

The team will go a step further in their charity work Saturday when they donate a portion of the 50/50 to support Women’s Outreach.

Kickoff on Saturday at the new Setters Place at Great Chief Park is 7 p.m., with admission costing $5.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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