Tyne & Nicole Gardiner

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The Central Alberta Buccaneers set sail on their 2017 season with a big win on Saturday.

The visiting Bucs romped to a 44-14 triumph over the Grande Prairie Drillers in week one Alberta Football League play.

After falling behind 14-13 early, the Buccaneers stormed back to take a 31-14 lead at half-time, then tacked on a couple more scores in the second half on their way to victory.

"The first game of the season is always the most nerve-wracking," said Jesse McPhail, Bucs slotback. "You never really know how good [the team is] or how other teams stack up until you see the results after the first week."

The Buccaneers won the game, which featured a first quarter that took more than 90 minutes to play, despite travelling to Grande Prairie with just 31 players.

"Guys really stepped up. We needed everyone to ball out and everybody did," said team captain Mark Fay. "Absolutely everyone on our roster left it all on the field. Every Buc played his heart out and it showed on the field and on the scoreboard."

The Bucs play their home opener this Saturday, June 3 vs. Lloydminster (6 p.m. at MEGlobal Athletic Park, Lacombe).

In other opening week AFL action the defending league champion embarrassed the Airdrie Irish 88-0, the St. Albert Stars shutout the Calgary Wolfpack 56-0, and the Lloydminster Vandals pillaged the Parkland Predators 66-0.

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