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Bantam 49ers come up victorious in exhibition game against Fort McMurray

St. Albert Peewee Riders also won 39-18 against Beaumont Bears.
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Oceane Moustier (77) makes a tackle in a game against the Fort MacMurray Ravens at Larry Olexiuk Field on Aug. 28. PRESTON HODGKINSON/St. Albert Gazette

The St. Albert Minor Football Association continues to march through its pre-season schedule. This time it was the St. Albert Bantam 49ers who were in action last Saturday against the Fort McMurray Ravens. 

It was a game that saw the 49ers run to a blowout as they took home a commanding 71-0 victory over the Ravens. Quarterback Preston Wideman led the team with four touchdown passes while running in three of his own. Darius Crandell followed suit with two touchdown passes as well as catching a couple more. 

Elijah Thomas, Arlen Gray, Mason Chisholm, and Lukas Pyka joined in on the fun with touchdown catches of their own, while Jakob Dunlop nabbed a defensive touchdown to complete the impressive offensive showing. 

On the defensive end of the ball, the 49ers proved to be an indestructible brick wall. Gray and Steele Doronski paved the path for the defensive team while Jack Demeter chipped in with two interceptions. 

Head coach Martin Quirk said the team showed a lot of promise out on the field and was happy with how they played. 

“The team performed to our expectation in that they played as a team and played for each other,” said Quirk. “They’ve really shown how far they’ve come and grown since we first got on the field on Aug. 1.”

Quirk was also encouraged with how every player was able to contribute in some way. 

“The majority of the team was able to contribute to the success we had so it was nice to see,” said Quirk. “It wasn’t just one or two players, it was a lot of new players that had never played football that made big impacts.” 

The big win should set some lofty expectations for the team heading into their first regular-season match-up against the West Edmonton Raiders on Sept. 19. Quirk, however, recognizes the competition they will face will try their best to slow them down. 

“We’re looking strong ... we do have some fierce competition coming up with the Sherwood Park Rams and the West Edmonton Raiders and I feel we will be able to compete with them,” said Quirk. “We’ll compete for Tier 1 and hopefully get to the finals and see where we can go from there.”

The 49ers weren’t the only team busy on the field on Saturday. The St. Albert Peewee Riders were also in action as they took on the Beaumont Bears. It was an affair that saw the Riders score early and often as Isaac Vandegriend scored a 50-yard touchdown on the very first Riders play of the game. 

Rider quarterback Kai Andersen ran in two touchdowns of his own and threw for one. The offensive line, anchored by Keaton Patterson, Ethan Regal, and Maguire Woods, did a fantastic job at creating space for the Riders to run the ball. 

The defensive end had its struggles early on but was shored up by fantastic showings by Dillon White and Fletcher Weirmeir. The game would be back and forth for a while, but it would eventually end in a 39-18 Rider victory. 

Head coach Geoff Richer said that while the team started off a bit on the wrong foot, they eventually came together to get the big win. 

“We were a little shaky in the beginning, having trouble getting into and completing our tackles in the first half,” said Richer. “We gave up two touchdowns in the first half, but in the second half we shut them down with some strong showing.” 

The Riders will now wait for their next game to take place this Saturday, Sept. 4, against the Sherwood Park Rams at Larry Olexiuk Field. 

About the Author: Preston Hodgkinson

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