The Raiders kicked off the 2022 Calgary Spring Football Association (CSFA) season with a 28-7 win over the Calgary Colts at Shouldice Athletic Park.
Almost three years after their last official game, the Airdrie Raiders’ return to the field ended in victory on April 1.
The Airdrie Midget Football Team kicked off the 2022 Calgary Spring Football Association (CSFA) season with a 28-7 win over the Calgary Colts at Shouldice Athletic Park.
The occasion marked the U17 team’s first appearance in a competitive match since winning the CSFA Division 2 championship in late May 2019. The 2020 and 2021 spring football seasons have been canceled due to the pandemic of COVID-19.
The lengthy hiatus means the entire Raiders roster is playing its first spring football season this year, according to head coach Steve Kemp.
“None of these kids had ever played for us before,” he said. “It’s been amazing, and we feel so lucky to be back here. It’s something we’ve wanted for a long time as coaches and players.
The Raiders were slow to get going Friday night, but thanks to a few touchdowns from receiver Tyson Heather and running back Paul Condon, they quickly took an 18-7 halftime lead.
The Colts defense managed to keep the Raiders out of the end zone in the third quarter, despite heavy pressure from Airdrie’s offense. Late in the third quarter, Heather scored a field goal to extend the Raiders’ lead to 21-7.
“The first quarter we kind of needed to find our rhythm, but once we found our rhythm we started to pull through,” Kemp said. “There are still a lot of things to clean up. Particularly in the third quarter, we found ourselves in their red zone a lot and we have to come out of it with more than three points.
Airdrie’s defense was able to keep Calgary’s offense out of the end zone throughout the second half, and Heather was able to catch another touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to put the game in bed.
“It was mostly about getting good speed on our routes, getting our blocks in and making sure everyone was doing their job,” Heather said. “Once we did that, we really started going for it.”
With just one game under their belt so far, Kemp said he and the rest of the Raiders coaches are still trying to figure out the team’s strengths, but he pointed to the team’s athleticism and versatility in attack.
“We are fast, in defense we are aggressive and in attack we can throw the ball and make plays,” he said. “We’re more of a passing team, but we have world-class running backs there, so we’re pretty balanced. »
Airdrie will look to continue their winning streak in their second game of the season next week. They will face the Calgary Stampeders on April 7 at 8:15 p.m. at Shouldice Athletic Park. The Stampeders lost 12-0 to the Calgary Hilltoppers in their first game of the season.
“I think everyone is happy with the season so far,” Heather said. “If we can do what we did today, we can do really well.”