Airdrie Raiders gunning for first place in division
By: Lucas Punkari
| Posted: Thursday, May 01, 2014 10:33 am
After losing its opening game of the Calgary and Area Midget Football League (CAMFA) season to the Calgary Mavericks on April 3, the Airdrie Raiders have fought its way back to the top of the Boulton Division.
Following a 22-0 whitewash of the Calgary Falcons on April 23, the Raiders are in a three-way tie for first place at 3-1 with the Mavericks and the Calgary Cowboys, heading into a clash with the Cowboys at Shouldice Park on May 1 at 6:30 p.m.
“It’s going to be our biggest game of the season so far, as both teams are battling for first place,” Raiders Head Coach Steve Kemp said.
“We’ve been finding our groove and our rhythm over the last couple of games here, and to see the guys growing and learning as a team has been pretty exciting,” he added. “This team is built for the playoffs, and I think we are peaking at around the right time.”
The players themselves have also noticed the improvements from the start of the season, especially as the Raiders have rattled off three straight victories.
“On offence, we’ve been really working as a unit over the last couple of games,” third-year wide receiver Bennett Thompson said.
“None of us are being individuals out there, and I think that has allowed us to become that much better.”
“I think our defence has been improving ever since the start of the season,” second-year linebacker Thomas Fox added.
“We’ve been communicating well with each other and making the adjustments that we need to out on the field, especially when you are going up against different offensive styles.”
When it comes to its game on May 1, the Raiders will have to stop the top offensive team in the CAMFL’s Boulton Division, as the Cowboys have scored 124 points in four games.
By comparison, the Raiders have scored 72 points in its four contests, but it has allowed fewer points this season with a 54 to 74 advantage on the Cowboys in the defensive department.
“We just need to try and play our game out there,” Kemp said. “We really want to control the tempo of the game, and if we do that, we should be successful.”
“We’re pumped up to play them again, especially since we were able to beat them last season,” Thompson added. “I think we just need to hold them back from getting points on the board, and we need to keep the ball moving on offence and not turn the ball over.”
The Raiders will wrap up its regular season on May 7 at Shouldice Park when it will take on the Calgary Broncos at 6:30 p.m