In what was likely the last home game of the Alberta Football League season, the Central Alberta Buccaneers played flawless defence.
They rolled to a 36-0 shutout over the Airdrie Irish and improved to 5-2 on the season with the victory.
After a tough loss last week on home turf to the Calgary Wolfpack, especially for the defence, the win was a redemption song of sorts.
“It was huge. (Last week) we were up in at the half and then sometimes a team gets comfortable– a little lax and the defence starts to let little things slide,” said defensive back Quincy Hill.
“Every yard we have to play hard and we gave them a little too much. It was redemption today, absolutely.”
Through a scoreless first quarter, the Bucs offence woke up the late in the second, courtesy of strong play on the other side of the ball.
Hill made consecutive interceptions for the home side and on the second, they finally capitalized.
On the final play of the half, Jarrett Burzuk floated a pass into the corner that landed right in the reliable hands of star receiver Axsivier Lawrence.
Early in the third quarter, Lawrence caught his second touchdown of the night, hauling in a 26-yard pass from Burzuk.
Hill made his presence felt again with four minutes to play in the third quarter. With the Irish punting, a snap sailed high over the punters’ head and into the endzone. Before he could recover, Hill bolted in and jumped on the loose ball for the touchdown.
“It was premeditated because they said go get the ball. If I’m not going to block it, I’m going to take it. The punter just wasn’t serious, so I jumped on it,” said Hill.
“It was our first defensive touchdown.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Ben Hantiuk also padded his stat line. One of the AFL’s top receivers made three catches for more than 50 yards on the drive and capped it off with his first touchdown of the night. Hnatiuk added his second touchdown of the game on an 18-yard catch from Burzuk.
Dario Viveros and Taylor Johanneson also had a fourth-quarter interception, making it three on the night for the Bucs defence.
The Bucs will also look for redemption in the final regular-season game next week, when they travel to Cold Lake to take on the Fighter Jets.
“We’re trying to beat Cold Lake. Cold Lake put a stamping on us,” Hill added.
“The running game, they really run on us all day. So we changed our whole defence just for that.”