BIG CRUNCH - Matt Merkley and the Central Alberta Buccaneers would power through the St. Albert Stars to take sole possession of second place in the AFL. Todd Colin Vaughan/Red Deer Express

Bucs manhandle St. Albert to take second in AFL

56-8 win puts Bucs’ right behind Ft. Mac in AFL standings

The Central Alberta Buccaneers were coming off their bye week looking to take sole possession of second place in the Alberta Football League.

The only thing standing in their way was the St. Albert Stars, who came into Red Deer with the league’s leading rush game.

Luckily for the Bucs’, the AFL’s leading passer — quarterback Brandon Leyh — would overpower the Stars on the way to a 56-8 win.

“That was a good day,” Receiver Ben Hnatiuk said. “Everything worked out perfect. Our o-line protected the quarterback and allowed him to make moves”

The Bucs’ would ease into the game, with neither team managing to find the scoreboard until 6:15 remaining of the first when Tylor Johannesson ran back a missed Stars 35-yard field goal attempt for a touchdown.

The Bucs’ would follow that up with Leyh finding Hnatiuk for a 25-yard connection, putting Central Alberta up 14-0.

“He (Leyh) is a big body in the pocket. He can stand in there, take the hit and move the ball down field. I have never played with a quarterback that is able to do that,” Hnatiuk said.

The home team would keep on rolling in the second quarter when Leyh found Preston Bailey for a three-yard score, putting the Bucs’ in control with a 21-0 lead.

The Stars would have the answer with 3:18 remaining after quarterback Troy Pappas found Adam Nesbitt for the score, putting them within striking distance 21-8 after the two-point conversion.

Hnatiuk would have the answer a minute later after Leyh found him deep in the endzone for 31-yard score, reestablishing the 21 point margin.

The Bucs’ would keep the scoreboard flashing after Bailey caught his second ball of the game to put his team up 35-8.

Josh Blanchard would continue to rub salt on the Stars wound after he caught another Brandon Leyh pass, his fifth of the game, leading to a halftime score of 42-8.

Hnatiuk would keep the Bucs’ pillaging in the third quarter after he scored his third touchdown of the game, putting the Bucs’ up 49-8 early in the quarter.

Blanchard would follow that up with 80 yard run after a shovel past, extending the debilitating lead to to the final score 56-8 Buccaneers.

Hnatiuk finished the game with three touchdowns and Leyh through seven of his own in a game to put the 4-1 Bucs’ into second place.

Hnatiuk credited the team’s success to team work.

“We have bonded pretty well. We all get along pretty good. As far as the game goes, we have great chemistry,” Hnatiuk said. “Today we showed we have a running attack too which will help us in the long run.”

Central Alberta will now travel to Grande Prairie next week.

Hnatiuk said they have their tilt with first place Fort McMurray marked down but they still have to come ready against Grande Prairie.

“That is who our eyes are on now,” he said.

todd.vaughan@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Ponoka’s Caleb Shimwell arrested after pursuit

Police allege that Shimwell rammed a police cruiser

PHOTOS: Bashaw Community Theatres’ production of Little Women delights

The production proved entertaining to a full crowd on its first weekend

Bashaw council not pleased with water rate jump

Council to suggest lower reserve for commission as way to hopefully lower water rate hike

Rollovers near Ponoka keep crews busy

Wintry road conditions proved a struggle for motorists on the QE2 highway with several incidents

Plane crash-lands near Ponoka

The airplane had its tail ripped off and it ended right side up in a copse of trees east of Ponoka

VIDEO: Shoppers like self-checkout lanes at the grocery store, survey suggests

Grocery Experience National Survey Report suggests most grocery shoppers spend 32 minutes per visit

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

The latest advent calendar trend: Holiday cannabis

A Canadian company is giving people from coast to coast a new way to celebrate the Christmas countdown.

731,000 Canadians going into debt to buy prescription drugs: UBC

Millennials and those without private coverage were more likely to borrow money

Pot users, investors need to be vigilant at Canada-U.S. border

U.S. authorities say anyone who admits to having used pot before it became legal could be barred

Most Read