They needed that win.
For the Ponoka Broncs senior football team, defeating the Rocky Mountain House Rebels at home Oct. 12 was just the thing the team needed to boost morale.
At the final whistle the score of 22-15 brought a roaring cheer from the team, coaches and parents who saw the chances of a consolation championship come to light. Both teams sat winless with an 0 and 4 record at the start of the game and it was a barrier that the Broncs have been struggling with all season, explained co-head coach Jamie Blinkhorn.
“It was big for our program. Big for our boys,” said Blinkhorn. “We’ve been going all year.”
“Today we finally clicked again,” he added, recognizing both defence and offence for hard work in the game.
There’s been a few close games and a few runaways that the team has contended with and it seemed to have created a wall of doubt for the Broncs. That wall was apparent in the last few minutes of the game when the Rebels, trailing 22-9 in the fourth, put on some extra pressure.
And then during a Rebels field goal attempt the Broncs tackled the kicker. That penalty hurt Ponoka’s momentum with Rocky accepting the penalty and going for a touchdown attempt.
While that attempt failed, a short punt by the Broncs put the Rebels in an ideal position to score, and they did. A failed conversion attempt, however, set the Broncs up for a strong chance at winning.
“I think our boys, they just need to find a way to just know how to win,” explained Blinkhorn. “I think the last few minutes there was all about just trying to keep composure.”
With seconds left and the Rebels in possession, there was some nervousness. Their quarterback threw a Hail Mary pass that almost found its mark but was intercepted by Jared Bussiere. And the Broncs won. And the crowd cheered.
The consolation championship falls to the Broncs, Rebels and the Camrose Trojans starting this week.
“We have Camrose next week and basically the game will decide who gets a bye to the finals and a home game,” said Blinkhorn.
Offensive player of the game was Jared Bussiere and defensive player was Connor Stiles.
Both were essential to the team’s success, said Blinkhorn. He praised Bussiere for playing both sides of the game while making a few key interceptions and getting points on the board.
Blinkhorn praised Stiles’ ability to read the play and make important decisions on the field. He added that Stiles is in Grade 10 and he looks forward to having the athlete in the program for two more years.