Battle for top spot

Posted by Jim Lightfoot on Jul 07 2011 at 05:00PM PDT


Herald-Tribune staff

Posted 10 hours ago

This Saturday is the ultimate battle for the top spot in the Alberta Football League. Both the Grande Prairie Drillers and the Calgary Wolfpack enter Saturday's game at Legion Field tied for first place with a perfect 4-0 record. "If you look at the history of the Wolfpack versus the Drillers, every single game that's been played has been a barn-burner," said Drillers head coach Trevor Prichard. "I've put more time into this game than I have into any other game up to this point. I've spent a lot of time with their film and scouting and pre-scouting, and making sure that our guys are going to be prepared for this game. "We know how important this is. Really if we win this one, there are only two more roadblocks and we'll have set ourselves up with where we need to be."

If last season's game is any indication, both team's offences will rule the day. Last year, the Drillers won 54-49 in a thriller. "We have to make sure on offence that we have a good running game that compliments our passing game," Prichard said.

A lot of focus between these teams has been on their quarterbacks, with Nathan Aldred leading the Drillers and Darryl Leason leading the Wolfpack. This season, Aldred holds the edge on the stats sheet, throwing 15 touchdowns to Leason's 13, and holding a quarterback rating of 150.3% to Leason's 106.5%. The one area Leason does lead in is interceptions, throwing seven this season to Aldred's one.

"It's great to have a head-to-head match up between the top two quarterbacks in the league," Prichard said. "But really, Nate's cool and calm, nothing's going to ruffle his feathers. He just does his business, he's not about stats, he's not about looking good in the paper. "What matters most to Nathan is wins and losses and unfortunately for us we don't have the wins when it counts and Darryl does."

The Wolfpack have won eight AFL championships since Leason joined the team in 1999 after playing for the University of Calgary Dinos.

With all the focus on the offence, it will likely come down to the defences to determine who wins the day. "We'll need to come up with a few different defensive coverages and be able to confuse Leason," Prichard said. "When you're scoring 49 points per game, which has been typical of every single one between the two teams, it really puts a lot of stress on the defence. "Defences can panic when there are lots of points being scored on the board, so I would say that any fan that's coming out this weekend is probably in for a great game because I don't think there's been a game where there has been under 70 or 80 points scored between the two teams."


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