The Cold Lake Fighter Jets remain undefeated in team history with a 30-21 victory over the Calgary Wolfpack on Saturday night.
The Fighter Jets survived a game full of momentum swings and lead changes to outlast the tricky Wolfpack team that threatened to seize control of the game in the first and second half.
Coach Chris McKenna said he liked how his team responded in just their second ever game.
“I feel really good on a lot of levels. We were losing at points, it wasn’t like we were leading all game, especially that kick when they ran it back to take the lead. It was nice to come back and win the game,” said McKenna.
🏈🏈The Cold Lake Fighters Jets are now 2-0 in franchise history after a 30-21 win over the Calgary Wolfpack! Coach Chris McKenna joins me thanks to Jester Office Essentials, Marina Mall Value Drug Mart, and Tri City Value Drug Mart
Posted by Lakeland Connect on Saturday, June 8, 2019
“It’s gelling pretty good. Not everyone can play very much. We try and get those guys on special teams, but there’s a good camaraderie here and I think we’re only going to get better.”
The Fighter Jets trailed 9-0 with 2:27 left in the first half, then blocked a Wolfpack field-goal attempt which eventually resulted in scored a 13-yard touchdown by #3 Leo Mantuila to make it a 9-7 game with 35 seconds left at the half.
Incredibly, the Fighter Jets worked on defence and forced a quick two-and-out.
Fast forward not twenty seconds of game later, and a deep post route to a wide-open receiver put the Jets ahead 14-9 at the brief five-minute half.
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Due to a rare first quarter, where two injury delays each required emergency attention from ambulances and slight concern for up to forty minutes combined, the game lasted almost three and a half hours – but the fans only increased as the game wore on and each team fell in a rhythm.
After the Wolfpack scored on a long third-quarter drive, the Fighter Jets scored their third touchdown of the game in response.
In between, a Fighter Jets interception that led a third-down gamble at the two-yard line that the Wolfpack intercepted and scooted to the thirty-five yard line with the touchback.
However, the Fighter Jets then punched home a fourth-quarter touchdown to regain the lead.
The Wolfpack scored on the ensuing kickoff with a deep kickoff return to have a one-point edge 21-20 in the middle of the fourth.
That’s when the Fighter Jets seized control of the game, replying with their fourth touchdown of the game and stopping the Wolfpack to eventually score the game-sealing field goal.
“You know it’s funny,” said McKenna on the team’s mindset after the Wolfpack regained the lead in the fourth quarter, “I was looking for that and expecting some guys to be upset and stuff. But nobody really said anything. We know we can score on these guys. We know we’re a good team and you saw what happened.”
The 2-0 Fighter Jets have just over 40 roster players and have played in front of sizable crowds at the new football field at the Cold Lake Energy Centre.
In their home opener, the Fighter Jets led by as much as 27 points in a 27-6 victory over the Airdrie Irish on May 25.
They host the defending national champion Fort McMurray Monarchs next weekend at home before leaving for their first road games.