The Red Deer Buccaneers felt good about the way they played Saturday against the Parkland Panthers at Great Chief Park, but were still a disappointed with the outcome.
Panthers Steve Wozimirsky kicked a 38-yard field goal at the final buzzer to lift the Parkland crew into a 24-24 tie with the Bucs
“We played an excellent game, but took a bad penalty at the end which may have cost us the win,” said Bucs head coach Dave Hanni.
“But we’re not putting the blame on anyone as It was a penalty of enthusiasm and those happen.”
The Buccaneers grabbed a 24-21 lead at 13:52 of the final quarter when Jay Pike kicked a 10-yard field goal to put the lid on a 65-yard march that ate up close to four minutes on the clock. To make the march even more impressive was the fact running back Kenton Poelzer carried the ball on every play.
The Panthers got the ball back with just under a minute remaining and were a bit fortunate to keep their drive alive when they made a third and nine gamble by inches.
Then with 6.2 seconds remaining in the game Panthers quarterback Bernie Huedepohl was hit as he went out of bounds on the Red Deer 46. A 15-yard roughing penalty moved the ball to the 31 from where Wozimirsky kicked his third field goal of the game.
“He’s got a great leg, but those extra 15 yards were all he needed,” said Hanni.
The game was one of the best played at Great Chief this season.
The Bucs grabbed the lead at 6:28 of the first quarter when quarterback Josh Achtemichuk connected with Alex Reinhart of a 103-yard touchdown. Pike kicked the convert.
The Panthers came back with Jason Loosemore scoring on a three-yard run and Wozimirsky kicked the convert and adding a single on the following kickoff.
Then early in the second quarter Achtemichuk connected with Poelzer on a swing pass and the exciting running back went 76 yards. Pike kicked the convert.
Wozimirsky added a field goal and the Bucs went into the break holding a 14-11 lead.
Poelzer went 25 yards to score at 9:01 of the third quarter and Pike’s convert made it 21-11.
Loosemore’s five yard touchdown and Wozimirsky’s convert made it 21-18 and a 32-yard field goal tied the game at 7:24 of the final period.
Poelzer led the Bucs with 147 yards rushing on 19 carries while Reinhart grabbed two passes for 119 yards. Achtemichuk connected on four-of-12 passes for 202 yards. Greg Thompson hit one-of-two for 30 yards.
The Bucs have next week off before hosting the Calgary Wolfpack Aug. 8.