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Central Alberta Buccaneers lose heartbreaker to Elite

Edmonton win 19-16 late in the game
The Central Alberta Buccaneers lost a heartbreaker to the Edmonton Elite on Saturday 19-16 at Setters Place in Red Deer in AFL action. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Elite 19 Bucs 16

It was a heated matchup between two rivals with an even more emotional ending on Saturday night.

Up 16-12 with just minutes left, the Central Alberta Buccaneers were on the brink of winning their first game of the year.

But the Edmonton Elite marched down the field to take home the victory 19-16 leaving the Buccaneers only 1:18 left on the clock.

Central Alberta was unable to get into field goal position in order to tie the game losing a heartbreaker in week two of the Alberta Football League season at Setters Place.

Buccaneers head coach Geoff Rambaut said two games in a row they’ve been in a position to win late in the game.

“It’s good development for our young players and our veterans are doing a good job leading them,” he said.

“Our defence is playing really well and our offence is moving the ball but we seem to take untimely penalties that extend other team’s drives late in the game and they capitalize.”

The offence in Rambaut’s eyes has been drastically better in the first two weeks of the season compared to last year. They’re moving the ball, completing passes, and rushing the ball downfield.

However, he explained the team’s biggest fault early in the season in discipline.

“That’s the last component to clean up and then we should have the win. Taking costly penalties is killing us right now,” he added.

“They came at really unfortunate times. The defence for the most part played really well. We held them between the 40s for most of the game. They had a couple of good games they capitalized on and then we extended a few drives on penalties.”

After scoring a touchdown in the first quarter, the Bucs took a 10-0 lead in the second frame off a 36-yard kick by Teej Johanesson.

The Elite responded with a big run by their running back to cut into the lead with 5:30 left in the opening half. Edmonton later tied it with a field goal of their own to go into halftime tied 10-10.

Midway through the third quarter second-year quarterback Brett Bylsma threw 30 yards downfield and found Johanesson in the endzone to retake the lead. The Bucs missed the entra point to take a 16-10 lead.

The Buccaneers’ defence came up with some big stops in the fourth quarter including a late interception by Riley Collins but the Elite came out on top 19-16.

“These mistakes are urgent but at the same time this is a year where every team makes the playoffs,” Rambaut added.

“We’re gearing to be our best team in week one of playoffs. Our improvement from last week was drastic… we’re trending in the right direction with a young team and that’s all you can ask.

“We should be 2-0 if we had composure so I like where we are. We’re in a good spot and we’re still the darkhorse of the league but we’ve got some things to work on.”

The Bucs won’t have to wait long for their shot at revenge.

On June 17 Central Alberta will head to Edmonton in week three to take on the Elite.

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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