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Airdrie Raiders earn spot in Div. 1 playoffs

By: Lucas Punkari

  |  Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014 10:48 am

Airdrie Raiders running back Jordan Baldwin (right) sprinted around the corner during his team’s 27-0 win over the Calgary Broncos on May 7 at Shouldice Park in Calgary.
Airdrie Raiders running back Jordan Baldwin (right) sprinted around the corner during his team’s 27-0 win over the Calgary Broncos on May 7 at Shouldice Park in Calgary.
LUCAS PUNKARI/Rocky View Publishing

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Airdrie Raiders players accomplished their first goal of making it to the Calgary and Area Midget Football Association (CAMFA) Division I playoffs this season.

Now the team is setting their sights on capturing the league championship.

Following a 27-0 win over the Calgary Broncos on May 7 that officially clinches a playoff spot for the team, the Raiders have been gearing up for a quarterfinal game against the Calgary Bulldogs on May 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Shouldice Park in Calgary.

“The biggest thing that we have been doing at practice is to make sure that we are executing everything that we do out on the field,” Raiders Head Coach Steve Kemp said.

“Our game plan is to be physical on defence, put pressure on the other team’s quarterback, and establish ourselves on offence,” he added.

“It’s been a hard week of practice leading up to this game, but the guys will be ready for it.”

The Raiders, who finished in third place in the CAMFA’s Boulton Division with a 4-2 record, have yet to face the Bulldogs this year, who finished in second place in the Parkinson Division with a 5-1 record.

“We can’t worry about what their record is and things like that,” Raiders running back Daniel Yoycha said.

“We really just have focus on what we do best and build off of that.”

“We are pretty much a family here, and we trust one another out on the field,” he added.

“As a result of that, everything else should take care of itself.”

Yoycha, a Grade 10 student at Ecole Francophone d’Airdrie, was a key player for the Raiders in its regular season finale, as he rushed into the end zone for a touchdown and picked up valuable yards on the ground throughout the game.

“The coaches gave me a chance to prove myself this week, and that’s what I did, I guess,” Yoycha said.

“My offensive line was able to open up the holes that gave me a lot of room to move around, and get the yards that helped our team to get points.”

“We had a bit of a flu bug going around, and that gave Daniel the chance to get more of a chance at running back this week,” Kemp added.

“He took the opportunity and ran with it, and he got stronger as the game went along.”

Aden Enns also rushed into the end zone for the Raiders, while the quarterback Duncan Little threw touchdown passes to Owen Wegner and Bennett Thompson.

“We were really interested in seeing how our guys would respond after losing their last game to the (Calgary) Cowboys (on May 1),” Kemp said.

“They were ready to play right from the start, and we expect that from them for the rest of the playoffs.”


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