Calgary Bulldogs offence halts Airdrie Storm run to Tier I championship
The Calgary Bulldogs are known for having one of the top offences in the Calgary Bantam Football Association (CBFA) and the Airdrie Storm got a first-hand look at it, Oct. 20. The Storm lost 60-14 to the Bulldogs in the CBFA quarterfinals.
The teams played through a chilly first half and a blustery, snowy second half, but a powerful Bulldogs spelled trouble for the Storm defence.
“We came out flat,” said Storm Head Coach Steve Kemp. “We didn’t come out with a lot of emotion and we got away from our game plan. When we did that, that’s when we started freelancing and when we start freelancing, we get into trouble. When guys do their own thing, holes open up.”
It wasn’t all bad for the Storm. Kemp said the team was able to protect the ball despite the slippery weather conditions and at times, it was successful in limiting the Bulldogs’ offence. It’s one of the positives he said the Storm can take away from the game.
“When we played our game plan, we shut down one of the most explosive offences in the league,” Kemp said. “Offensively, we had a couple of quick strikes and a few long drives and that’s stuff we can build on. That’s what we can reinforce. When (the players) buy in (to the game plan), look out.”
Despite the loss, it was a monumental game for the Storm, as it was the first time in 15 years that the team qualified for the CBFA’s Tier I playoffs. While it won’t be playing for the Division I title, it does have a chance to bring home the Division II championship. The Storm will now play the Cochrane Lions for the title and for a chance to play in the Division II provincials.
The Lions lost to the Calgary Stampeders 15-9 in its quarterfinal and are a familiar foe for Airdrie. The two teams faced off last year for the Division III championship, a contest the Lions won 40-20.
With higher stakes on the line this year, Kemp said the chance to play for a Tier I title was good, but the team is now focused on winning the Division II championship.
“All you have to do is get invited to the dance and we were there,” he said. “Now we go a different route and we still get to play for a championship and a chance for a provincial championship. It’s exciting and we’ll come back and play even harder.”
The Storm will take on the Lions Oct. 27 at 9 a.m. on Shouldice Park’s Hellard Field.