By Dale Cory
It all came down to one play. And it didn’t go in favour of the Broncs.
Ponoka was eliminated from the Western Alberta Six-man High School Football League playoffs Nov. 10 after a heartbreaking 74-72 loss to Millwoods in a quarterfinal game played in Edmonton.
The defeat was the first for the Broncs in nearly two months. After opening the season with a pair of losses, Ponoka rattled off six-straight victories to advance into the playoffs.
The teams traded touchdown for touchdown and by early in the fourth quarter, the Broncs led by 12 points.
“We were at that point where, if we could stop them one more time, or we could score one more time, we would have been up by 20. I remember thinking, ‘OK, we could be up by 20 here.’” recalls defensive co-ordinator Brady Teeling. “They stopped us, and we tried a 35-yard field goal with about a minute left to make it a nine-point game. But we didn’t make it — and they marched the ball down the field in the final minute.”
Millwoods came through with the tying touchdown with five seconds remaining on a passing play during which the receiver broke tackles at the five yard line to force his way into the end zone. The game, and the season, came down to the two-point convert, which, in six-man football, consists of kicking the ball through the goalposts. The attempt was good, and Millwoods had advanced to the final four.
“It was still a great season. And we had great guys on this team. I’m pretty sure all the coaches would agree that it was a great group to coach. The other seasons were good, but this group was the most cohesive, and they stuck together,” added Teeling. “We really thought we were in the groove where we should have beaten Millwoods. It wasn’t overconfidence — we were just peaking.
“All in all, it was a great season. And the best part of all was that it was a great group of guys — and I can honestly say that. I’m going to miss a lot of them.”