Gators prevail in AFL semi held here
The Alberta Football League (AFL) semi-final contest hosted at Genesis Place Recreation Centre on August 11, was not the homecoming that Airdrie-native and Calgary Wolfpack linebacker Jon Scratch had in mind.
Scratch, who is a graduate of George McDougall High School, could only watch as his team came out on the losing end of a 24-21 decision to the Calgary Gators.
“It was a really competitive game where we gave our all and put everything out there that we could,” Scratch said. “It was just some mental mistakes on special teams that cost us.”
Though they held an 11-10 lead at halftime, the Wolfpack saw their lead disappear in the early stages of the third quarter as they gave up a punt and a kickoff return for touchdowns.
“Our special teams play has kind of been our weakness all year long,” Scratch said. “Our defence and our offence played well, but those two plays where we allowed them to score changed the game.”
Facing a 24-14 deficit after the third quarter, the Wolfpack cut the deficit to three points midway through the final frame when running back Matt Squires dove across the goal line for a touchdown.
That would be as close at they would get, as the Gators defence stood tall in the dying moments of the contest.
“As long as you have time left on the clock, you never know what can happen,” Wolfpack quarterback Darryl Leason said. “The Gators stepped it up at the end though on defence and they just made more plays than we did.”
With the victory, the Gators advanced into this Saturday’s AFL championship game, where they will look to complete a perfect 8-0 season by defeating the St. Albert Stars.
“We’re all pretty excited right now to be going to the finals,” Gators quarterback Liam Greaney said. “We had a very close game the last time we played St. Albert, and it should be a really good game once again.”
Despite the fact that his season came to an end, Scratch was pleased to see the amount of people from his hometown to watch AFL action.
“This was my first game in Airdrie in 10 years, so this was very special,” Scratch said. “There was some great fan support for both sides, and I was happy to see the kids that I coach here with the Northern Raiders and their parents were able to come out.”
Sunday’s contest was originally slated to take place in Calgary, but the game was moved to Airdrie as a result of the recent flooding in Southern Alberta.