Prairie Fire lose steam in home opener
Calgary Hilltoppers Running back Ike Okafor is taken down by the Prairie Fire during a Thursday night game at M.E. Global Field. The Fire lost 21-15. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
In a repeat of last year, the Prairie Fire midget football team dropped their first home game of the season to the Hilltoppers from Calgary by a score of 21-15.
While they came out on the losing end of the game at M.E. Global Field last Thursday evening, however, Head Coach Patrick Callan said the game was even right until the final quarter.
“It was very close the whole game,” he said. “We played tough, they played tough but we just couldn’t finish or get off the field defensively. We made a lot of mistakes at the worst possible times.”
The Prairie Fire struck first, landing a touchdown early and making good on the conversion to make it 7-0. By the time the fourth quarter came around, however, the Hilltoppers had taken over, leading 15-7.
The Fire landed another touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, then ran the ball over the line to tie the game 15-15, but the Hilltoppers’ Ike Okafor weaved through the fire to put his team ahead once more and take the game 21-15.
“He ran hard,” said Callan. “Their offensive back line blocked for him well and when we did get our hands n him to tackle him, he carried us another couple of yards. He was impressive.”
The Prairie Fire dropped their season opener 22-14 to the Broncos, making their season record thus far 0-2.
Callan’s goals for the team moving forward are simple: eliminate mistakes, take less penalties and catch more balls.
Still, he said he liked the effort from the team, and opposing coaches gave the Prairie Fire credit for being hard-hitting team.
“That’s the hardest hitting game I’ve seen in a long time at this level,” he said. “I’m proud of our guys for how hard they play. I just think there was a win we could’ve had out there.”
The team is on a bye week, but will take part in the Orange Bowl Game at M.E. Global Field on Thursday, April 20, while their next regular season game will be on the road in Calgary April 28 to take on the Falcons at Encana Field.
Their next home game will be on May 4 against the Cowboys. Kickoff is 7:15 p.m. at M.E. Global Field.