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Battle for top spot

Posted by Jim Lightfoot at Jul 7, 2011 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )

 By IVAN DANIELEWICZ

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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Vandals close, but not quite there

Posted by Jim Lightfoot at Jul 7, 2011 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 12:42 pm

Conditions seemed perfect for the Lloydminster Vandals to finally shake their one final demon, Saturday, June 25th.

Lloydminster has never beaten the Calgary Wolfpack, an 0-8 string that extends back to the Vandals first season in the Alberta Football League (AFL) and a victory is a goalpost the team has set for itself.

The path to victory seemed open, with Calgary struggling in the early part of the season despite coming to Lloyd with a perfect 3-0 record. In the end however, it was the Wolfpack who ran away with the game late en route to a 41-24 victory.

Vandals quarterback Jared Valleau said the offence just couldn’t get on track in the second half after ending the first deadlocked 14-14 with Calgary.

“I’m just really disappointed,” Valleau said following the loss. “The defence gave us a chance to win and we screwed it up.

“They come up with the big plays they need. We had a chance, but with throwing picks and bad throws, it wasn’t a good day for us.”

A battle of two offences that rely heavily on the air for most of their yards, the expected shootout was hampered by wet conditions that made the ball slippery and footing uncertain.

After drizzling off and on all game, heavy rain broke out as the game came to a close. Valleau said it was the ending the game deserved.

“It sums it up,” he sighed.

The team has a week away from the field to rebound from their first loss of the season, returning July 9th when they’ll travel to Edmonton to face the Renegades.

Valleau said the still winless Renegades are in trouble.

“We won’t face anyone that tough again,” he said. “We have an easier game in two weeks and we beat up on them, I guess. We have to get back on track.”

With Jase Bouchard sidelined with a shoulder injury, the Vandals looked to Sean Brown to run the ball. Kicker Brad Ollen said that Brown, who was injured the previous week when the team played in Wainwright, gave the team a boost with his willingness to battle.

“Brown’s a heck of a guy,” Ollen said. “He used to be an offensive lineman and now he’s running the ball and playing special teams. I know he was really banged up after last game and to see him come out and run the ball like that was fantastic. It gave us that boost on defence.

“You see a guy out there giving it that kind of effort on offence, you want to do the same thing.”

Ollen’s own contribution came late in the game when he picked off a Darryl Leason pass through the middle, juking his way into the endzone. It was a touchdown that would have gotten the Vandals back into the game, but was called back due to a penalty.

He said looking back to see the flag on the field was crushing.

“That was the worst. I felt old and depressed,” he said, then laughed.

Ollen said that despite their struggles, the Wolfpack still have experience and confidence on their side.

“Just that experience of Darryl Leason is huge,” he said. “Not to take anything away from Jared but Darryl’s been in those situations for 20 years now for crying out loud. Jared’s a heck of a ball player, but without a running game, we weren’t able to sustain a drive. Without a run to guard against, they were able to play two safeties and that helps shut down the passing.

“They just seem to be able to click and pull things out in the second half. We go in there tied into the second half and they just have the confidence to throw those deep balls and Darryl knows where to put that ball. We got beat on three deep plays on defence today and it cost us touchdowns. We just didn’t have that on our side of the ball.”

Ollen said rebounding from the loss is as simple as getting players back and getting back to work.

“We had a heck of a game shorthanded today,” he said. “We get a running game going, couple of receivers and a running back into the lineup again and we’re just as good as them,” he said. “We’ll be playing them again in a month or so.”

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History repeats itself

Posted by Jim Lightfoot at Jun 25, 2011 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )

By Carl Carter

 The Lloydminster Vandals were hoping to buck a long losing streak on Saturday, but instead fell victim to the Calgary Wolfpack once again. The Vandals had never beaten the beaten the Wolfpack heading into Saturday's game at Armstrong Field, and that didn't change as Calgary scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take the 41–28 victory.

"I think there was a little adversity there that we've never come across over the last couple years," said cornerback Matt Loveseth. "We've had a couple deep benches the last couple years and in this one it kind of bit us in the butt in the fourth quarter, so it's just something we're just going to have to work through."

The Vandals were missing two receivers during Saturday's game, but the team's offence was still able to move the ball. The team couldn't cash in when it mattered most, however, as the Vandals only scored one touchdown in the second half, and none in the fourth quarter.

"We only had two of our regular (receivers) but he (quarterback Jared Valleau) still found a way to get them the ball, and they moved it and they did well," said Loveseth. "Even our running backs who were banged up and barely played this game, they moved the ball and did what they could for us."

The Vandals' defence stood strong against one of the highest–scoring teams in the league, and even earned a couple interceptions – including Loveseth who returned his pick for a major.The Vandals' offence knows it has to play better, however, and especially if they meet the Wolfpack in the playoffs. "We definitely didn't play our best game, and they just came out and beat us straight out I think," said receiver Jordan Preibe.

"The breaks just started to go the other way and we just didn't capitalize on the chances we had, and that's just the way it goes sometimes."

With the win the Wolfpack stays on top of the AFL standings with a 4–0 record. The loss was the Vandals' first of the season, and it drops the team to third in the league with a 3–1 record. The AFL takes a break this week for Canada Day, but the Vandals have a tough schedule down the stretch.

The team has no more home games, and the team still has a date with the second–place Grande Prairie Drillers to end the regular season – a game that could determine home–field advantage in the playoffs. "We were really geared up for this game and it's going to sting for a little bit, but now we got a couple of easy games and then a big game up in Grande Prairie, so we've got to be ready," said Loveseth. "We're going to have to travel well, we can't let anything slide and we're going to have to build and build and build all the way to that Grande Prairie game. That's going to be a big one."

There are no games in the AFL this weekend, but the Vandals will return to action on July 9 when the team heads to Edmonton to take on the Renegades.

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Calgary Wolfpack AFL All-Star Selections

Posted by Jim Lightfoot at Oct 19, 2010 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )

PLAYER

POSITION

AFL 1st TEAM

AFL 2nd TEAM

Darryl Leason

QB

2002, 2003, 2004,2006,2007,2008,2009,2013,2014

2005,2010,2011

Mike Williamson

SB

2001, 2002

 

Allen Mackay

C

2001, 2002, 2004

 

James Arndt

OL

     2013     

2006,2011,2014

Tim Henry

LB

2001

 

Howard Gardener

DB

2001

 

Michael Leason

SB

2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006,2007,2008,2010,2011,2013

2009

Wayne Watson

LB

2002

 

Robb Sherman

DB

2002,2010

2009

Hugues Audet

WR

2005

2004,2006,2007,2008

Hugues Audet

PR

2001

 

Blair Eslinger

DE

2003

 

Joey Whelen

DB

2003

 

Sean Stewart

S

2003

 2011

Stephen McLean

PK

2003

2004

Shane Cogbill

OG

 

2004

Gomeya Cooper

LB

2004

 

Kiyo Pearson

LB

2004

 

Rob Sakires

DB

2004

 

Ken Watt

S

2005

2004

Ken Watt

PR

 

2005

Rod Bailey

RB

 

2005

Matt Squires

FB

2005,2010,2013,2014

 2009,2011

Terry Eldridge

SB

 

2005,2007,2008

Mike Mosca

C

 

2005

Jordan Murray

DE

2005

 

Sheldon Southgate

DT

2005,2007,2008,2009,2010

 

Gene Loria

DE

 

2006

Jim Lapointe

DE

2006

 

Kris Arnold

DB

 

2006

Lazar Velev

LB

2005,2006,2007,2008,2010

 2009

Jeff Moodie

LB

2005

 

 Matt Donnelly

 DB

 

 2007

 Tom Dixon

 PK

 

 2007,2008

 Evan Kaluta

 SB

2009

 2008,2010

 Mark Ingram

 OL

 2009,2010,2011

 2013,2014

 Jordan Gruman

 LB

 2010,2011

 

 Mike Fedyniak

 RB

 

 2010

 Tim Johnson

 WR

 

 2010

 Jim Chappelle

 DL

 

 2010

 David Dominic  DL  2013  
 Mike McEachern  SB   2013 
Mike Waslyniuk  WR 2013   
 Gordon Swindells WR     2013
 Gunnar Godhe  DE  2011  
 Gunnar Godhe LB  2013   2014
 Reilly Penner  DB  2011,2014  
Sean Ahronson  RB  2013   
 Chris Wolin DB    2013 
 Matt Huntley RB    2014 
Matt Lamontagne  DB    2014 
 Miles Myers DB    2014 
James Baldson   SB 2014   
Jordan Kuziek  OL  2014   
 Sean O' Donnell  OL 2013,2014   
Josh Comeau  DL  2014   
Chad Murray   WR  2014  
 Adam Goode  DB  2015  
 Doug Harding  P    2015