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Raiders drop opening game of football season

By: Lucas Punkari

  |  Posted: Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 11:43 am

James Spencer of the Airdrie Raiders made his way around a teammate as he sped down the field during the opening game of the Calgary Midget Football League season against the Calgary Mavericks on April 3.
James Spencer of the Airdrie Raiders made his way around a teammate as he sped down the field during the opening game of the Calgary Midget Football League season against the Calgary Mavericks on April 3.
Lucas Punkari/Rocky View Publishing

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The opening game of the 2014 Calgary Minor Football League season did not go according to plan for the Airdrie Raiders on April 3 at Ernest Manning High School.

However, if defensive halfback Deion Holder’s attitude is anything to go by, the 38-21 loss to the Calgary Mavericks isn’t preventing the team from achieving its main goal.

“Even though we didn’t get the win to start things off, I still feel like our team has a really good chance of winning a Division I championship,” Holder said.

“We went up against one of the top teams in the league here, and I think we still can get better from here.”

“This was a winnable game for us, but we just made too many mistakes,” he added. “However, our next game is coming up and we already know that it’s going to be a brand new game.”

Raiders Head Coach Steve Kemp spotted some early season jitters from his team, but he also saw some positives during the course of the game.

“We were able to get down the field well at times and had some strong defensive stands,” Kemp said. “I thought we really matched up well with them and I would really like to face this team once again in the playoffs.”

“However, we turned the ball over too many times, and it’s really hard to be competitive and win a game when you aren’t executing all of the time,” he added.

The biggest standout performance of the game was the Raiders’ passing attack, as quarterback Duncan Little threw three touchdown passes.

“In the last couple of seasons, we have never been able to get that passing game going,” Holder said. “To see us do that well today was something we were all excited about as a team.”

“We try to have a well-balanced offence that has a nice mix of running and passing plays, but if our passing attack is working well, we will try and lean on that a little bit more,” Kemp added. “We have a strong-armed quarterback and fast wide receivers, so we will be trying to stretch the field a lot more often this year.”

The Raiders will look to notch its first win of the 2014 season on April 11 at 7 p.m., when the team takes on the Calgary Hilltoppers at Shouldice Park.

“There was actually a little concern with the way the weather has been that we might not play the game at Shouldice,” Kemp said. “But now that it’s warming up here again, we will be heading back there for not just this game, but the rest of the regular season.”

“Our opening game was a good measuring stick to see where we were against one of the top teams in the league,” he added. “We saw that we still have a lot of work to do, but we are excited about moving ahead and getting better as a team.”


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