Airdrie Storm heading to Tier I playoffs
It’s a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in more than a decade.
The Airdrie Storm are headed to the Calgary Bantam Football Association’s (CBFA) Tier I playoffs for the first time in 15 years after a 14-9 win over the Calgary Mavericks Black, Oct. 13.
It came down to the wire, or more specifically the six-yard line. The Storm took a 6-1 lead into the second half, but Calgary scored with less than five minutes left in the game. After scoring early in the second quarter, Jordan Baldwin led an offensive drive into the endzone to put the Storm back in the lead.
Desperate for a late-game score that would give it the win, the Mavericks charged back and ended up at the Storm’s six-yard line. With only seconds left on the clock, the Storm defence stood strong and held up the win, helping the team book its ticket to the Tier I playoffs.
“It was a big, important game and we were really in control of our playoff fate,” said Storm Head Coach Steve Kemp. “(The team) wanted to make sure we got into Tier I and they were excited and amped up and ready to go for this game. Right from warm-up we knew they were going to come out and play hard.”
The defence core stepping up in crucial game moments is a storyline that has followed the team and Kemp credits a line that has improved with each game.
“They finally played like they were capable of,” he said. “They were fired up, flying around and hitting people. They were challenged at the end of the game and responded.”
Consistency is something the team, which went 4-4 in the regular season, has struggled with this year, but Kemp said it has turned a corner around that roadblock just in time for the post-season. He added it bodes well for the team’s hopes of playing for the Tier I city championship.
After finishing third in the CBFA’s North division, the Storm will now take on the Calgary Bulldogs, which finished second in the South division. Facing off against a new team means homework for the coaches.
“It’s going to be less about skills and drills and more about getting the right game plan, finding out what they like to do and taking it away from them,” Kemp said.
The Storm and the Bulldogs will play Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. on Shouldice Park’s Hellard Field.
The winner will take on either the Calgary Stampeders or the Cochrane Lions.