Monarchs move to 2-0 with win over Calgary Gators

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Fort McMurray Monarchs quarterback Deric Davis stiffarms a defender from the Calgary Gators Saturday at Shell Place. The Monarchs conceded points for the first time this season, but still came out on top, winning 43-17. Robert Murray/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network

Robert Murray – Fort McMurray Today – Monday, June 5, 2017

There was likely a time in Alberta Football League history when the Calgary Gators starting the season 0-1 would be a surprise.

After how the Fort McMurray Monarchs clashed with their longtime rivals Saturday at Shell Place, it’s not much of a surprise any longer.

The now 2-0 Monarchs refused to budge from their goal of staying perfect in league play, defeating the Gators 43-17 at Shell Place Saturday.

With a tight first half living up to that bill, the Monarchs found a way to find their extra element in the second half.

“It’s a different squad, but they’re still a very good team that are well-prepared and they did a good job today,” said Monarchs head coach Dave Spence of Saturday’s battle.

Leading by a 12-10 score at the half, the Monarchs offence found their legs in the second half while the defence continued to stifle any competition stacked up against them.

“I feel like I came out a lot more poised than I was the first game,” said quarterback Deric Davis. “I feel like us, as a team, we got better today.

“We’re still new with each other, so I feel like the chemistry is starting to build now.”

It’s clear through just two games though that Davis can excel in this league and will face further tests in the coming weeks as teams move to figure out his game. Until then, he’s earning the praise of his head coach.

“He’s really getting an understanding of what we do and how we do it,” added Spence. “He made some plays on his feet and made some good throws.”

At 2-0 the Monarchs are right where they want and expect to be. They’re tied with the Central Alberta Buccaneers for first place. The lone meeting of the season on June 24 is also quickly approaching. Spence has no intentions of slowing down.

“We’re the champions and we intend to stay champions until we get knocked off,” continued Spence. “Our goal is remain number one.”

A first this season, the Monarchs are on the road this coming weekend when they travel to face the Calgary Wolfpack. That game will be followed by their third home game of the season June 17 against the expansion Parkland Predators.

rmurray@postmedia.com