An early touchdown by Receiver Branden Siemens put the Central Alberta out to an early 7-1 lead against the visiting Fort McMurray Monarchs in AFL semi-final action. (Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express)

Central Alberta Buccaneers punch ticket to AFL Final

28-20 win over Fort Mac sets up likely date against Calgary Wolf Pack

After the Cold Lake Fighter were disqualified from the Alberta Football League (AFL) playoffs, the Central Alberta Buccaneers were awarded a home playoff game against their rivals — the Fort McMurray Monarchs — in a game that would decide who would play in the AFL Finals.

Despite giving up a single point off the opening kickoff, it would be the Bucs’ would who would hammer the first nail when receiver Branden Siemens caught a 28-yard pass from Quarterback Jarrett Burzuk to put Central Alberta up 7-1.

The Monarchs would have the answer, however, early in the first quarter after an ill-advised roughing-the-kicker penalty by the Bucs’ led to a long touchdown, putting Fort McMurray up 8-7. The Monarchs would add to their lead as time expired in the second half with a field goal, leading tot he half time score of 11-7 Fort Mac.

It wouldn’t be long before Ben Hnatiuk, the constant hero of the 2019 Bucs, wouldn’t allow the Monarchs lead to hold in the second half when he scored his first touchdown of the playoffs, which was preceded by a huge interception by Todd Lewis — giving the Bucs’ back the lead at 14-11. Hnatiuk would continue to carry the load near the end of the third quarter — stretching the lead to 21-12 heading into the final frame.

“Every time the ball is thrown to him, I don’t even need to watch and somehow he comes down with it. He is incredible,” Bucs’ receiver Tylor Johannesson said about Hnatiuk.

The fourth quarter was dominated by Johannesson, intercepting a ball at midfield early in the quarter and then adding to the lead with a touchdown — leading to a score of 28-12.

Johannesson said he got more comfortable after Lewis’ earlier interception.

“Guys were fired up and that was pretty awesome,” he said

The Monarchs would make the game interesting with a late touchdown, followed by the two-point conversion — but it wouldn’t be enough to stop Central Alberta from advancing to the AFL Finals, winning 28-20.

Johannesson credited a change in defence to the Bucs’ success.

“We were having troubles stopping the run. We are a little small but we are quick, so we changed it up. It started being successful and we have the personnel. You could see it. Guys were flowing,” he said.

The Bucs’ will likely take on the number one ranked Calgary Wolf Pack on the road in search of their very first AFL title.

“I expect us to go in there and shut them down. I honestly think Fort Mac was a bit tougher of a test defensively but the Wolf Pack have a better passing game. We will be prepared and we expect to win,” he said.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Summer Villages halt Stettler County’s Buffalo Lake amendment request

White Sands and Rochon Sands oppose density increase at Buffalo Lake RV Resort

Central Alberta’s Gord Bamford adds Bashaw and Hanna dates to the #REDNEK Music Fest

The tour features Jess Moskaluke and other special guests

The Stettler Board of Trade welcomes 2020 board of directors

The board is an organization comprised of business owners and municipal representation

On Feb. 26th, practice kindness and wear pink to symbolize that you do not tolerate bullying

Bullying is a major problem in our schools, workplaces, homes, and online

Working Well Workshop coming to White Sands

Informative water well management workshop will help residents protect their drinking water

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Trudeau says Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades a critical moment for country

First Nations leaders suggest it may be time to peacefully end the blockades

AFN national chief calls for calm on Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline

Federal, B.C. ministers seek meeting with Wet’suwet’en in hope of blockade solution

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route

Flight to evacuate Canadians from cruise ship ‘expected’ to depart Japan on Thursday

Canadians seeking to return to home by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Wetaskiwin RCMP Investigate Shooting incident in Poplar Grove

VW sedan may be linked to Wetaskiwin gun incident

Wetaskiwin RCMP seeking witnesses to car-jacking

Armed theft resulted in two subjects facing multiple charges

Most Read