Raiders still looking for first win
Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 06:00 am
The struggles continued for the Airdrie Raiders April 13 as the team fell to the Calgary Broncos by a score of 33-14.
The loss drops the Raiders’ record to 0-3 in the 2017 Calgary and Area Midget Football Association (CAMFA) season and puts it in a tie for last place in the Boulton Division alongside the Red Deer Prairie Fire, which also has yet to win a game this season.
“We’re young and we’re still learning how to win and be consistent,” head coach Steve Kemp said. “Our ceiling is quite high, we can compete with anybody in the league. We just have to learn how to believe in ourselves and trust the system.”
The Raiders entered the game on a two-game losing streak, while the Broncos came in with two wins already under its belt.
“That’s a hungry and confident team that was very physical,” Kemp said. “They get good pressure with their front four on defence, which makes it difficult to throw the ball. They kind of made us one dimensional in that game.”
The Raiders were bolstered with the return of some injured players, with quarterback Max Longchamps returning behind centre after missing the Raiders’ second game of the season and a pair of defensive players making their regular season debuts.
Although it was nice to have Grade 11 players like Enoch Angbongy and Stanley Jones back in the lineup, it was a tough challenge to have them return midway through the season against an undefeated team like the Broncos, Kemp said.
“It is a big addition, however, it is like they are going out and playing their first game of the year,” Kemp said. “There is a little bit of an adjustment period for them to get back into full speed.”
With Longchamps back in the lineup, the Raiders got off to a good start, scoring a touchdown on its opening drive when Longchamps connected with second-year Reid Jensen for a 40-yard strike.
That would be all the team could muster in the first half as the Broncos took over and effectively ran away with the game going up 29-7 by halftime. Longchamps connected with Jensen for another score in the second half, but the Broncos lead was too much to overcome as the Raiders fell 33-14.
Although there is a level of disappointment for the Raiders dropping 0-3 on the regular season, one positive Kemp said his team could take away is the effort he had out of Jensen in the loss. With two touchdowns and a third called back due to a penalty, as well as dominant punt and kick returns, Jensen had a big bounce back after a disappointing result in the Raiders’ second game of the season against the Calgary Mavericks April 6.
“Reid and I had a talk after the Mavericks game. I challenged him and he responded,” Kemp said. “Offensively, he was a playmaker and threat every time he touched the ball. He was very determined to make sure he was giving it everything he had.”
The Raiders now head into the bye week, where it can regroup after failing to secure a win in the first half of the season. The Raiders return to action April 28 when it takes on the 3-0 Okotoks Big Rock Bengals at 8:30 p.m. at Shouldice Athletic Park in Calgary.