49ers march towards playoffs
St. Albert bantam football team is undefeated
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 03, 2012 06:00 am
The undefeated St. Albert 49ers are beating up teams on both sides of the ball after taking it on the chin last year.
The No. 1 team in the Tier 3/4 bantam division outscored its opponents 180-32 in four games after recording only one victory last year in the Capital District Minor Football Association.
“It’s just an all-around team effort that’s been getting us this far. It’s awesome,” said Brendan Guy, a Grade 9 quarterback and safety.
The 49ers have 11 returning bantams on their roster, as well as two players from the 2011 St. Albert Fury.
“We have more experience this year as a team and we’ve really improved our game,” said Julian Pawlychka, a Grade 9 defensive end and left tackle who also fills in at running back. “We’ve got a lot more going for us. There is not as much confusion compared to last year.”
The 49ers have rushed for more than 150 yards and have thrown for at least 250 yards in every game, including 350 passing yards in the last two wins: 42-26 against the Leduc Ticats (2-2) and 75-0 against the winless Wetaskiwin Warriors at Riel Recreation Park.
“We have a great O-line and great receivers,” said Guy, who has passed for more than 1,100 yards and 13 TDs in four games and has been picked off only twice.
Corbin Stewart racked up more than 400 receiving yards at slotback, including 160 yards on two receptions for TDs of 85 and 75 yards against the Warriors on Sunday.
Jackson Tulloch, a triple threat at slotback, defensive end and linebacker, also has more than 300 receiving yards after hauling in two passes for 63 yards for TDs of 26 and 37 yards against the Warriors.
Running back Naiem Qadiri surpassed 450 yards in only three games. He sat out Sunday’s game with an injury.
Taking turns in the backfield against the Warriors were Pawlychka (two carries for 54 yards and one TD) and Kris Akkerman (seven carries for 61 yards and three TDs).
The 49ers have dominated teams without their best player, Ty Beck, in the line-up. The two-way running back and linebacker was injured in the season-opening 21-0 victory over the Fury. Beck had already gone 65 yards for a TD on his first run, and the second time he carried the ball was tackled after a 50-yard dash, when he dislocated an elbow and broke a bone in his arm.
“In about two or three weeks time he’ll be back out of the cast so he’ll be able to play in the playoffs,” Guy said.
The last St. Albert bantam team to win a league championship was the 2009 Fury in Tier II. The Fury ended up losing the provincial final to the Calgary Wildcats.
In the crossover playoffs the top four teams in both divisions meet to determine who advances on to the Tier I and Tier II semifinals.
“We have a great chance at cities,” said Guy, 14.
On defence the 49ers allowed only 50 yards net offence against the Warriors and recorded 11.5 sacks/tackles for loses. Pawlychka was responsible for five of those plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Pawlychka and Chase LaRose also recovered fumbles and Akkerman, Devon Dorn, Guy and his brother, Connor, picked off a pass.
The Guys ended the game with pick-six TDs in the last four minutes of 50 yards by Brendan and 57 yards by Connor at safety.
“Our D is really good pursuing with pressure and the line gets stronger every game,” said Pawlychka, 14.
In the pre-season jamborees the 49ers played some Tier 1/2 teams and wound up on the losing end of the score against the Rams (3-1) and Northstars (3-1) of Sherwood Park and the Chargers (4-0) and Seahawks (0-4) of Edmonton, which is why they are grouped in the Tier 3/4 division in league play.
“We still have things to improve on. Containment on defence is definitely one of them. I also make some bad decisions once in a while at quarterback. I have to get better at that and know when not to throw it and run,” said Brendan, a Grade 9 Lorne Akins student.
The next game for the 49ers is Saturday against the Fort Saskatchewan Lightning (3-1) at 12:30 p.m. at the Riel turf field.
“No matter who we play we always have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” said Pawlychka, a Grade 9 Richard S. Fowler student.