Bugs thwart Vandals in home opener

17_Bucs_Wk4_LG

Thomas Cassidy of the Central Alberta Buccaneers leaps over an attempted tackle by Riley Gilroyed of the Lloydminster Vandals during the Bucs’ home opener at MEGlobal Athletic Park on Saturday. The Bucs defeated the Vandals 58-14. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)

Ashli Barrett – Lacombe Globe – Thursday, June 8, 2017

If the Lloydminster Vandals thought they could steal a win from the Central Alberta Buccaneers, they thought wrong.

The local pirate crew might consider themselves to be in a rebuilding year, but that didn’t stop them from taking a 58-14 victory in their home opener Saturday at MEGlobal Athletic Park.

In fact, it was the Bucs doing all the pillaging and plundering right from the opening kickoff.

“We thought we’d catch (the Vandals) by surprise and see what we have. We had confidence in what we could do,” said Bucs Head Coach Fred Knip.

“We watched the game film and they put up 66 points against the Parkland Predators. I think they came into this house confident they were going to be able to do something to us. If we take the edge off of that…do some hurry up offence we could catch them off guard.”

Just 1:29 into the first quarter, quarterback and Lacombe native Judah Knipp found Axsivier Lawrence for the Bucs’ opening touchdown.

Shortly after, Jesse McPhail put the team further ahead, followed by a second touchdown by Lawrence to end the first quarter 22-0.

At halftime, the score was 34-0, and it wasn’t until the latter part of the third quarter that the Vandals managed to put points on the board.

Still, the offence was dominated by the Bucs.

For Lawrence, the key to their success was simple.

“Just good play calling,” he said. “Good play calling and Judah’s confidence, honestly. He was out there making some really good throws in tight windows for Jesse and myself.”

Knip agreed.

“Judah’s a great player out there. I like the way he works out there. He’s systematic,” Knip said. “He looks. He’s got some excellent receivers and slotbacks working for him…They get open and he sees it.”

Knipp, himself, however, just credited a good week of practice, and their execution.

“For the second week of the season, we’re doing well,” he said. “It’s only going to get better and I’m excited.”

Now 2-0 on the season, the Bucs currently sit in second place in the AFL behind the Fort McMurray Monarch team that bested them in last year’s final.

The Bucs next game will once again be at home at MEGlobal Athletic Park where they will take on the Calgary Gators. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.

abarrett@postmedia.com