Bucs season ends in thriller

The Red Deer Buccaneers promised they wouldn’t bow out of the Alberta Football League playoffs without a fight.

Wolfpack 56 Buccaneers 49

The Red Deer Buccaneers promised they wouldn’t bow out of the Alberta Football League playoffs without a fight.

And fight they did before dropping a thrilling 56-49 decision to the defending national champion Calgary Wolfpack at Great Chief Park Saturday.

The Bucs, who finished at 1-6-1, needed a win and a Calgary Gators loss in Grande Prairie to grab sixth place.

“We gave it a run,” said Bucs head coach Dave Hanni. “I couldn’t be prouder of our guys. They (Wolfpack) came in here expecting to blow us out and we ran out of time against them.”

And that’s exactly what happened.

The Wolfpack, behind their outstanding quarterback Darryl Leason, marched the ball down field to score the winning touchdown on a one-yard run by Sean Ahronson with 55.5 seconds remaining in the game.

The Bucs were able to move the ball, as they did all game, against the Wolfpack defence, but simply ran out of time when quarterback Josh Achtemichuk’s final toss fell to the ground at the Calgary five.

Achtemichuk was the story of the game as he connected on 24 of 33 passes for 541 yards and six touchdowns — three to Randy Lawrence, two to Kenton Poelzer and one to Josh Sorensen.

Lawrence had 11 receptions for 230 yards while Poelzer grabbed seven passes for 89 yards and rushed nine times for 43 yards. Sorensen had six catches for 94 yards.

Achtemichuk also ran four times for 27 yards and a touchdown. Jay Pike kicked seven converts.

Meanwhile Leason threw for five touchdowns and a two-point convert and also rushed for one major. Tom Dixon had six converts and a pair of field goals.

Red Deer led 14-0 after the first quarter with the teams tied 28-28 at the half. The Bucs led 42-34 after three quarters.

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