Monarchs top Wolfpack

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The Fort McMurray Monarchs took over sole possession of first place in the Alberta Football League, beating up on the Calgary Wolfpack while the Central Alberta Buccaneers teams had their perfect seasons disrupted by the Calgary Gators. Robert Murray/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network

Robert Murray – Fort McMurray Today – Tuesday, June 13, 2017

It took three weeks of play, but the Fort McMurray Monarchs have finally created space for themselves at the top of the Alberta Football League.

In a game filled with endless statistics, a 51-0 beatdown of the Calgary Wolfpack was the only major statistic worth reporting as one of the league’s haves beat up on one of the league’s have-nots.

“Every football game is a challenge,” said Monarchs head coach Dave Spence. “Unfortunately, we were ready to play and they weren’t. I think we did remarkably well even though we had seven starters out of the game that were working or were injury-related and we were still able to dominate them.

“It was a good day for us.”

The victory pushed the Monarchs to 3-0 and into the lone possession of first place in the AFL while the Wolfpack fell to 0-3. The result or final score should have hardly come as a surprise. In a league with few upsets, the status quo remained in the positions they should.

The one notable exception to that was the Calgary Gators topping the Central Alberta Buccaneers Saturday 28-7 to drop the Bucs to 2-1 in the standings. The St. Albert Stars remained perfect with a 2-0 record and will likely stay that way until a July 8 meeting against the Monarchs.

“Unfortunately, the bottom half teams haven’t quite figured it out yet and how to be competitive on a high level,” added Spence. “You’re going to have these games on your schedule. You have some good teams in the Bucs and the Stars and the Gators and us.

“Then you’ve got the bottom half that are still learning.”

The discrepancy is especially telling when you look at the offensive numbers as the Monarchs have scored more points than the bottom five teams in the league combined. With their third home game coming up Saturday against the 0-2 Parkland Predators, even Spence is forecasting a game similar to the ones against the Airdire Irish and Wolfpack, where the focus would not be as much on his opponents as it will be keeping his own team battle ready.

“That’s definitely a little bit of a concern of mine, is making sure these guys don’t fall asleep when we do face good competition,” continued Spence. “We try to keep it interesting and mix some different guys in the lineup.

“We know we’re the champions and we’re just trying to defend that.”

rmurray@postmedia.com