Last season Central Alberta Buccaneers receiver Matt Merkley sheds a tackle from a St. Albert Stars at Setters Place at Great Chief Park. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Central Alberta Bucs set for intrasquad game ahead of 2019 AFL season

The Central Alberta Buccaneers have hit the ground running toward the 2019 Alberta Football League Season.

The crew has held four spring workouts over the last two weeks and will play an intrasquad game on May 4 at noon at MEGlobal Athletic Park in Lacombe.

“To be able to get out and get looks at guys in a few different positions, see where were guys fit into this group this year,” Buccaneers GM and offensive lineman Vince Roth.

“We’ve tried it in practice but it’s always a little bit different when it’s a little more formal. That’ll be a good part of the intrasquad game.”

In addition to a fresh look with the lineup this season, the Bucs will also have a new man guiding the ship. New head coach Gary LaGrange brings a depth of football knowledge to the team in 2019. LaGrange made seven straight AFL Finals as a player from 1991-97 and has been active on the sidelines as a football coach for the last 20 years.

“With his history in the AFL, I think he understands this level of football. Some of his stuff he’s shown us so far, just the Xs and Os, he knows pretty well what he’s doing,” Roth said.

“He has a lot of exciting ideas and that excitement– we’ve seen it throughout the roster. Guys are excited to give it a try.”

The status of 2018 quarterback Brandon Leyh is still up in the air, but Roth believes they have four options at the position regardless. At receiver and defensive back, most of their players will be back and they could also have a strong running back tandem in 2019.

Roth added the rest of the roster is littered with guys that have junior experience or some AFL experience, which will be big when they finally start playing on May 25.

“There’s been a lot of different faces every night, so once we can get everybody who showed up at practice to be at the same one, I think our roster will be pretty good numbers-wise,” said Roth.

“Quality of those guys, it seems to be up in general. Seems to be a lot more guys with some junior talent or some university experience. Guys that we’ve seen play for other teams in the past. It’s pretty encouraging that way.”

They open the regular season on the road against the Calgary Wolfpack and then host the defending league and national champion Fort McMurray Monarchs on June 1.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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