The Red Deer Buccaneers were their own worst enemies Saturday night at Great Chief Park.
“It came down to a bunch of mental mistakes,” said Bucs head coach Dave Hanni, whose club was guilty of seven turnovers in a 27-6 Alberta Football League loss to the Calgary Gators.
“They did not outman us or outgun us like the (Edmonton) Stallions did (in a 48-13 thumping) last week. They didn’t outcoach us, either. We were evenly matched, but we just committed brain farts all over the place, which is so frustrating.”
The Buccaneers, who fell to 0-3 while the Gators improved to 2-1, held to visitors to a scoreless draw after 15 minutes, but the Calgary squad took advantage of two fumbles and an interception by Red Deer quarterback Andrew Stannix to score 10 unanswered points in the second quarter. Bad snaps caused two fumbles plus a missed field-goal attempt.
Josh Achtemichuk replaced Stannix in the third quarter, but the Bucs failed to record a first down.
Meanwhile, the visitors sustained a couple of drives and scored on a long pass and added a field goal to take a 20-0 lead into the final quarter.
The Bucs were headed for the end zone in the fourth frame when running back Kenton Poelzer fumbled the ball away at the Gators one-yard line. Red Deer got the ball back on a solid defensive stand and Achtemichuk found receiver Alex Rinehart in the Calgary end zone with an 18-yard pass, but the point after attempt failed due to another bad snap.
Stannix completed 10 of 16 passes for 97 yards, while Achtemichuk was good on nine of 18 passes for 115, also throwing one interception.
Poelzer rushed for 54 yards on 15 carries and also caught five balls for 54 yards. Bucs slotback Josh Sorensen had four catches for 49 yards and Rinehart pulled in two for 34 yards.
Defensively, linebacker Brad Smith had four solo and one assisted tackles, including one for a loss, and lineman Matt Vandale had three solo and one assisted tackles, one for a loss.
In addition, linebacker Curtis Dreger blocked a field goal.
The Bucs are on the road this weekend, taking on the Grande Prairie Drillers on Saturday. Red Deer’s next home game is against the defending national champion Calgary Wolfpack on July 11.