Lacombe Bantam Raiders suffer second straight loss

Koden Stott tackles his Sylvan Lake Lions opponent during Central Alberta Football League action in Sylvan Lake on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. The Raiders fell 44-0 to the Lions. Lorisa Schlecht

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The Lacombe Bantam Raiders offence froze with the temperatures as they dropped their second straight game.

The Raiders were shutout 44-0 by the Sylvan Lake Lions on the road in Sylvan on what was a chilly Saturday afternoon, dropping their record to 2-2 on the season.

While Raiders Head Coach Fred Knip said cold weather was admittedly a factor, he struggled to figure out exactly where else the team went wrong.

“Ouch – that was not pretty,” said Raiders Head Coach Fred Knip. “I am at a loss for words, actually. I’m not sure what happened – we worked hard all week on intensity, concentration and discipline.”

The Lions opened the scoring halfway through the first quarter to take an 8-0 lead. While the Raiders wouldn’t create any offence for themselves, they were able stop the Lions from increasing their lead until five minutes left before halftime, when they took a 14-0 lead.

Knip says they were able able to move the ball well on their next drive – to the point they almost had opportunity to score. As time ran out in the half, however, the Lions picked off a pass and added their third touchdown of the game to send the Raiders to the dressing room down 22-0.

“That was purely my fault. I should have known better than to pass deep in our end zone with time ticking down,” said Knip. “As soon as our team broke the huddle and lined up, I had a premonition it was going to end bad – we didn’t have any timeouts left and I couldn’t stop the play.”

It took the Lions until midway through the third to score again, and they’d add another two touchdowns before the game finally ended 44-0.

Knip said players called the cold weather their “kryptonite,” and with some new players in the lineup filling voids left by injuries, they were having difficulty “judging left from right.”

“We had a hard time containing the outside run today. Once we had the ball, we had a hard time holding on to it,” he said.

“I don’t think we were ready for the weather. We should’ve been – this is Alberta.”

In the last two games, the Raiders have been outscored 107-8 – something Knip says has never happened before.

Still, he has confidence the team will be able to bounce back.

“We are better than the last two games,” he said.

“The loss will give us something to build on. We’ve had a successful program for years, so I don’t think I’m going to throw out the baby with the bath water. We will concentrate on what we do best and eventually we’ll reach our goals.”

The Raiders will now hope for warmer weather – and a more heated offence – next Saturday as they head to Curtis Field in Rocky Mountain House to take on the Rocky Rebels at noon.

They’ll play their final home game of the season Oct. 12 against Strathmore at MEGlobal Field. Kickoff time to be announced.