LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – A shot at capturing a fourth consecutive title awaits the Swashbucklers next weekend.
After defeating the Albany Panthers 41-35 in the SIFL semi-final game, the Bucs will meet the Columbus Lions in the title game. However, their quest to go out on top has been anything but easy.
It has been a tumultuous season for the Bucks', full of ups and downs. Everything from the team being up for sale, to coaching changes mid season, and the end of their winning streak at home, it appeared the Buck's wouldn't reclaim the glory the franchise had grown accustomed to.
Bucs' defensive back Sammy Knight stated, "Beginning of the season, we started off slow, but our fans haven't let us down yet, they catch me in the store, Sammy I know you all can do it, you know you all can do it, and Darnell Lee and the guys came back and coach Mike stepped up as the head coach and we just took it and ran with it."
Nothing better signifies the team's ups and downs better then their victory of the Panthers last night. The team manhandled the Panthers in the first half, carrying a 20-6 lead into half time, but by the start of the fourth quarter the Panthers had narrowed the deficit.
The Bucs saw a 41-20 lead squandered in the second half, and in the fourth quarter the Panthers had rallied within six points of the Bucs, 41-35. They made a late run with under a minute to go. Their final drive carried them into the red zone, but Bucs' Sammy Knight intercepted Panther's Cecil Lester's pass to stop the scoring threat. The interception was Knight's third and most important of the night because it helped seal the Bucs a spot in the championship game.
Head coach Mike Warren stated, "We've learned to over come, this team's about being able to rise to the adversity that's been going on and we've come together as a family, and we're all on one path now and that's to get the championship."
"It was like we had blinders on we were really just trying to find our way in the beginning," said Warren. "Towards the end we started putting things together and these last two games we really had breakouts on both sides of the ball and it added up for a win for us last night."
The SIFL Championship Game is Sunday July, 18th. The Bucs and Lions will meet for the third time this season after splitting a pair of games. The Lions will carry a 9-3 record into the title game and the Bucs now .500, will enter the matchup at 6-6.