Airdrie Storm outmuscled by Calgary cyclones
It wasn’t how they wanted to follow up a 70-point game. In its second outing of the season, the Airdrie Storm lost to the Calgary Cyclones by a single touchdown, 12-18, Sept. 1.
“I thought we played really well,” said Head Coach Steve Kemp. “We came out in the first half and had lots of energy. We pushed hard, but unfortunately we only came up with two touchdowns.”
Jordan Baldwin looked to be picking up where he left off after the team’s season opener, in which he scored nine touchdowns. He got the Storm on the board in the first quarter and helped the team take a 12-6 lead in the second, but Calgary began to target Baldwin and limited his production in the later stages of the game.
The Cyclones also began to throw their weight around in the second half and the team’s physicality sent Baldwin off hurting on two separate occasions, as well as quarterback Mike Lees, who returned to finish the game.
Lees said the temporary loss of Baldwin impacted the team’s push for more points.
“He puts the team on his back and he’s a playmaker, so we didn’t have a lot of good execution,” he said.
“In the second half, we didn’t match their intensity,” said Kemp. “They started playing physical and they wore us down. Usually the more physical team will win.”
After winning the season opener, Kemp was hoping for an improved defensive performance for the players against the Cyclones. The only thing that was missing was the offensive spark the team showed against the Mavericks.
“Our defence stepped up in the second half and matched (the Cyclones) play for play,” he said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t help them out on offence. Every night they’ve been working on their tackling and working on their positioning. They’ve got 14 guys who really want to play ball and really want to get better. It’s exciting to see as a coach. We just have to be more sure on our tackling.”
The Storm return to the field Sept. 8 to play against the Cochrane Lions. Game time is 1 p.m. at Shouldice Park’s Hellard Field.
With the defence improving every day, Lees is hoping for more than just two touchdowns.
“We need to work hard on offence,” he said. “We need more execution and to stay healthy.”