As I observed in my Events listing for this Prairie Football Conference game in our Aug. 8-21 issue, it’s tough to imagine a PFC team having a tougher start to the season than the Thunder this year. First up are the Colts, who finished first in the PFC in 2012 with an 8W-0L record, then comes a home and home series with the three-time defending Canadian Junior Football champion Saskatoon Hilltops in Regina on Aug. 24 and Saskatoon on Sept. 7.
Of course, junior sports are inherently difficult to predict. A team loaded with veterans might be dominant one year, then plummet in the standings the next year after they graduate a bunch of players. With that caveat in mind, the Thunder will have to be sharp out of the gate to avoid getting off to a 0W-3L start.
On the plus side, they did score a last minute 24-21 victory over the Colts in Calgary in the PFC semi-final last year before getting creamed 37-0 by the Hilltops in the PFC final. So the Thunder have proven they can compete with the elite teams in the PFC. On the down side, the Thunder have a new head coach this year in Scott MacAuley who took over for Erwin Klempner who retired after seven seasons. MacAuley spent the last three years as the team’s special teams and linebacker coach, so the transition may go smoothly. If there’s an adjustment period, though, the Thunder may struggle early.
Today’s game goes at Mosaic Stadium at 2 p.m.