Younger players join Bantam Northern Raiders team
The Airdrie Bantam Raiders are gearing up for redemption.
With an impressive 4-4 regular season record last year, its season ended after being knocked out in the Division II Calgary Bantam Football Association (CBFA) semi-finals.
This season, the Airdrie Bantam Raiders (formally the Storm) is looking for top honours.
However, Head Coach Steve Kemp is stressing the team will be taking a slow-and-steady approach to the start of the 2013 campaign, which began Aug. 27 with a contest against the Calgary Bantam Stampeders in Shouldice Park.
“We have a lot of good talent, but we also have some players who are new to football, so it’s going to be a steep learning curve for those guys,” Kemp said. “They are getting better and learning lots as they work on their skills, and they should be improving in every day of practice and in every game that we have.”
After coaching a veteran-heavy team last fall, Kemp’s approach this year has changed a bit, since many of the 13 and 14 year olds will be getting used to playing football for the first time.
“We are focused more on the fundamentals right now,” Kemp said. “Last year, we were able to get more in depth with the x’s and o’s, but we are running a pretty basic playbook right now until everyone gets up to speed.”
“We are going to keep it simple, and that will help everyone become better players as a result of that,” he added.
Prior to the start of the new season, the team took part in a pre-season scrimmage at Shouldice Park, where they lost all three of their games.
“Two of those games were really close contests,” Kemp said. “We lost 21-14 to Stony Plain and 14-7 to Grand Prairie, but the scores didn’t really reflect how well we played in those two games.”
The Bantam Raiders will return to action on Aug. 31, when it takes on the Cochrane Lions in a 3 p.m. game at Shouldice Park.
The CBFA regular season will run until Oct. 12, with the playoffs getting underway on Oct. 19.
The league championship game will take place on Nov. 2.