After a pair of impressive wins over the defending champion Central Alberta Buccaneers and the Peace Country Cowboys to start the Alberta Football League (AFL) season, the Airdrie Irish were hoping to keep things rolling yesterday (June 18) when they hosted the Cold Lake Fighter Jets, who were also 2 - 0 heading into the game.
Unfortunately, a series of miscues by the Irish on offense, plus some strong play by the Fighter Jets' defense made the difference in Cold Lake's 41 - 15 victory.
Irish Team President and running back Connor Lutz said, despite the lopsided final score, the game was a good battle between two undefeated teams.
"Our defense played phenomenal. They were given short field position a bunch of times. We had five turnovers on the offensive side of the ball which makes it very difficult to win a game making those sort of plays."
The Irish defense only gave up two scores with the remainder of the Cold Lake points coming from a pair of pick sixes and a kick return touchdown.
Lutz believes, if the Irish play as well as they can, they can compete with the Fighter Jets. "But as it stands right now," he said, "they're definitely a team to beat in the league right now.
Lutz was pleased with the Airdrie ground game, with both of their touchdowns coming by that route. He also singled out receiver Jacob Williams for having a good game.
The game was a chippy affair throughout, according to Lutz, with some unsportsmanlike conduct penalties flagged and a lot of trash talking going on. All of the extra-curricular activity led to a melee involving both benches once the final whistle blew. Lutz said the Irish, as a team, consider the after the whistle misconduct to be unacceptable.
"We're internally working through any kind of catalyst on our side of the football that may have contributed to that sort of behaviour and we'll be dealing with those according to our professional code of conduct," explains Lutz. "We'll be holdng our players and coaches accountable for their actions and we hope Cold Lake and the AFL are going to do the same."
The Irish will hope to get back to their winning ways when they travel to Edmonton for a Saturday, June 25th game against the Elite. Edmonton is 1 - 1 after losing to Cold Lake in their opener before coming back with a big win over the Fort McMurray Monarchs.
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