Bengals impressive in first-game loss

Football: Early season mistakes cost expansion Big Rock

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 09, 2014 06:00 am

Big Rock Bengal T.J. Tighe finds a hole in the team’s first game in the Calgary Area Midget Football Association on April 2 in Calgary. The Bengals lost 26-16.
Big Rock Bengal T.J. Tighe finds a hole in the team’s first game in the Calgary Area Midget Football Association on April 2 in Calgary. The Bengals lost 26-16.
Bruce Campbell/OWW

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Someone forgot to tell the Big Rock Bengals that expansion teams are supposed to roll over like kittens playing with yarn.

The Bengals gave the defending Calgary Area Midget Football Association champions, the Wildcats, all they could handle in dropping a 24-16 decision at a snowy Ernest Manning Athletic Park in April 2 in Calgary.

“We watched the Bengals last week at the jamboree and we knew going into tonight’s game they were a good team,” said Wildcats coach Greg Wilson. “They have a good passing attack and I was really impressed with them — I thought they hung onto the ball really well in these conditions.”

Wilson said he would not be surprised to see the Bengals finish in the upper tier of the standings in their first kick of the cat in the association.

The air attack was supplied by Bengals quarterback Peter Zajdel who hails from Henry Wise Wood High School in Calgary.

He was throwing to some familiar faces in Okotoks.

Big Rock receiver T.J. Tighe from Foothills Composite showed Nik Lewis-like hands, while fellow Falcon Daylon Creason sparked the Bengals’ attack with some big runs and catches.

It was a different view of the gridiron than when Creason played safety for the provincial high school finalists Foothills Falcons last fall.

“I’m back playing slot where I used to play at Bantam,” said the Grade 10 student. “I’m just glad to be playing football again.”

After falling behind 9-6 in the opening 12 minutes, the Bengals took a brief 14-12 lead in the second quarter on a drive that started at Big Rock’s 27 yard-line.

Zajdel hit Tighe in the flats who got free and wasn’t hauled down until he got to the Wildcats’ 37-yard line.

Bengal running back Brenden Hansen then found a hole and didn’t stop until he got to Wildcats’ four. He went into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game, to give Big Rock the lead.

The Bengals lead was short-lived.

The Wildcats marched down the field on their subsequent drive, which was capped of by a Kevin Gritter 10-yard TD run to put them ahead 28-14.

The Wildcats would add a TD in the second half on another Gritter run. The Bengals forced the ‘Cats to knee in their own end zone for the safely to make the final 24-16.

Although Big Rock was impressive in the loss, like any new born baby taking its first steps, the Bengals stumbled now and then.

Turnovers and a lack of execution at key times cost the Tabbies the victory in their first game.

“We got beat on the little things that we haven’t been able to practice very much,” said Bengals head coach Bruce Marlow. “Our special teams hurt us… We were in the red zone two times and came away with no points. We score then, maybe we win the game.”

He said he was impressed with how his offensive line fired off the snap. Marlow said the defence still needs some work.

“Our defence came out cold and apprehensive, but in the second half they started to kick some butt,” Marlow said.

Bengal lineman Denton Meyer saw plenty action in his first game since the Holy Trinity Academy Knights were knocked out of the Big Rock League semifinals.

Meyer played both ways on the Bengals’ line.

“It was great, just two good teams going at it,” Meyer said.

He stressed there is an even split of Comp and HTA players on the Bengals roster. He said the Bengals will only make both high school teams stronger in the fall.

“I was happy with the way we played,” he said. “All we need is to have more practice. Reps — that’s what we need.”

The Bengals have been forced to practice at Rundle College — a field-turf facility — until there are dry fields in Okotoks.

The Bengals took on the Colts Monday losing 31-13. Their next game is April 12 when they take on the Calgary Falcons at 1:15 at Stampeder Field at Shouldice Park in Calgary.

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