The Red Dogs defence gets a few pointers during the team’s walkthrough at the Synergy Vault on Friday. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO
A lack of available bodies didn’t seem to present much of a challenge for the Lloydminster Red Dogs in their season opener.
The Red Dogs pummelled the Battle River Shock 39-6 at Lacombe’s MEGlobal Athletic Park on Saturday.
The win is a kick start for the team as they attempt to defend their 2016 and 2017 Capital District Minor Football Association midget Tier 1 championships.
Cory Drechsler, head coach of the Red Dogs, said they travelled to the game with only 35 players due to some boys’ other commitments during Easter weekend. He said a number of starters were among those missing from action.
Drechsler said the match provided a challenge to their depth, but he was confident they’d pull through.
He noted the group of younger players already showed him they were ready to play at a pre-season scrimmage in Edmonton on March 23.
“The second strings got a lot of playing time (at the scrimmage) because they’re nervous as some of them are playing a different level of football,” said Drechsler.
“But, I was happy. Obviously our timing needs work, but all-in-all it was pretty good. It was good to get the jitters out, see what we’ve got and go from there.”
Cullen Wagner, a veteran offensive lineman for the Red Dogs, said the first game of the year sets the tone for the season and their focus going in was to show the rest of the league they’ll be coming hard this year.
He said they’ve got a good veteran squad complimented by a group of new players hungry to learn the game and they’re all itching to get onto a field and hit somebody.
“Everybody wants to take us out because we’re a successful football team, but we’re ready,” said Wagner.
“We’re going to come and hit them and we’re going to show them that we’ve earned what we’ve earned. There is no just walking on the field or anything like that. We’re going to come out there and give it 100 per cent.”
The Capital District Minor Football Association midget Tier 1 championship is awarded to the team sporting the best record after its six-week regular season.
The Red Dogs play their first four games of the year on the road, including a match against the Edmonton Chargers at Clarke Field this Saturday, before welcoming the Fort McMurray Ravens to the Holy Rosary High School Raider Bowl on April 28.
Drechsler said the Ravens entered the league last year and struggled a bit, but the expectation is they’ll be a lot better this time around.
He said they had a big roster last year and most of those kids are back as veteran players, so getting a win at home against them should present a good test for his team.