A new season filled with optimism is hoping to build upon the improvement in 2016.
It’s always a difficult process to breed success at the bantam football level, especially in a small community with no feeder program to draw from. However, the bantam Broncs are managing to just do that, culminating in the program’s first-ever victory at the end of last season.
And that has translated into the club attracting more students as the team began its spring training camp at Ponoka Secondary Campus recently.
Head coach Todd Lewis explained about 60 per cent of the roster are new players, many of who will be entering Grade 7 in the fall.
“This is seriously exciting. If they stick with the program, we will have a ton of experience and talent in the years to come,” he stated.
“The veterans I do have are second and third year Broncs in the program. As a result, they know the program, its expectations, and how to find success. I am already relying heavily on them to teach and guide our new players.”
The team roster includes players from Ponoka Secondary Campus as well as St. Augustine Catholic School, Ponoka Christian School and Crestomere and Mecca Glen schools.
Lewis added that getting that first victory in the division three championship game last year certainly helped with recruitment, but it was really the veteran players that made the biggest difference.
“In addition, the returning players were vital to my recruiting efforts. They did a fantastic job of bringing out their buddies and strengthening our team,” said Lewis.
“While our success is never dependent on the scoreboard, continued on-field success shows that our program is continually improving and I think that is something that is enticing to athletes. They want to get in on the ground floor of something special.”
The club’s spring camp is integral to any future successes, since most of the new players come to the club with little to no football experience.
“We train the players with the basic skills, football knowledge and foster passion for the sport. The goal is to get our athletes up to speed for the regular season.”
Broncs battles — The spring camp will run until around the middle of June, with the club participating in a pair of jamborees in order to get the players used to live game action before the real season begins in September. The jamborees, one in Lacombe on June 3 and then in Stettler on June 10, will see the club get the opportunity to practice playing both offense and defense.
“The athletes and coaches alike are absolutely pumped to put the skills and knowledge gained in practice to use in a live-format against other teams,” added Lewis.
And it isn’t too late for any students entering junior high that are interested, as the bantam Broncs are still accepting players. For information, email the head coach at firstname.lastname@example.org.