The Central Alberta Prairie Fire football club will kickoff its 2018 season a couple weeks later than expected.
The Prairie Fire’s first Calgary and Area Midget Football League game this season is against the Calgary Mavericks at 7:15 p.m. Friday, April 13 at the ME Global Field in Lacombe.
Bad weather conditions in Calgary caused the season opener to be pushed back a couple weeks, said Pat Callan, Prairie Fire head coach.
“There’s a thick layer of ice on the field in Calgary and the city has had a hard time getting it cleaned. Between practising or games, they haven’t been able to get on the field down there,” he said.
Callan said April 13’s game in Lacombe is “pretty well a go.”
The extra time practising helped the team improve, he added.
“This year we have a lot of young athletes in Grades 9 and 10, so having some extra time has been a bit of a blessing. We can get a couple practices with them before we play and get them up to speed,” he said.
Callan said the team is very excited to play.
“We’re getting a little tired of practising, hitting each other and putting in work in cold weather without getting the games,” he said.
The Prairie Fire is aiming to be the best team in the league this year, Callan said.
“Our expectation is always to win,” he said. “We have a very athletic team this year as opposed to a ton of size, which is good.”
Last year the Prairie Fire finished 2-4, which Callan said was disappointing.
“We underperformed a bit. We lost a few games we probably should’ve won, but that’s the way it goes,” he said.
The team will need to improve on the “little things,” said Callan.
“We struggled in certain situations, like converting on third downs and picking up points when we needed to,” he said. “We also took too many penalties at times we didn’t need to.”
The offensive line and the defensive backs are two of the Prairie Fire’s biggest strengths this season, said Callan.
For the offensive line, “we picked up a couple new kids and some returning players have come in and they’re in very good athletic condition. They’re really impressing us.
“We knew the (defensive backs) were going to be strong coming into this season and in practices they’ve definitely proven that,” he said.
The Prairie Fire football club consists of Grade 9-11 football players from Central Alberta.
For a full season schedule, visit www.prairiefootball.ca.