Ponoka’s bantam Broncs football team played great in their home opener Sept. 7, but weren’t able to hold on as Lacombe came back to win 19-18. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Ponoka’s bantam Broncs football team played great in their home opener Sept. 7, but weren’t able to hold on as Lacombe came back to win 19-18. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Bantam Broncs edged out in home opener

Decision to go for the victory with only seconds left leaves Ponoka wanting in 19-18 loss

A great start turned into a bit of a letdown finish for Ponoka’s bantam Broncs football squad.

The Broncs opened their Central Football League season at home to Lacombe on Sept. 7 with a 19-18 loss.

“We were able to execute in every phase — defense, offense and special teams,” said head coach Todd Lewis.

“But eventually, the heat and some injuries slowed down our offense and despite our last drive of the game finding the endzone, we narrowly missed on the kicking convert for the win.”

Ponoka gave up a single early on, but took the lead midway through the first quarter courtesy a touchdown run by RJ Littlechild and led 6-1 after missing the convert.

It wasn’t until early in the second quarter when the Broncs were able to increase the lead on a short plunge into the endzone from LJ Nieviatomy. Lacombe would cut the lead to 12-7 with a touchdown before halftime.

The Broncs lost momentum as Lacombe would put two more touchdowns, missing on both converts, on the board in the second half.

However, Ponoka would have one final shot after Littlechild notched his second TD of the game with just 16 seconds remaining after the offense marched nearly the length of the field. Unfortunately, the two-point kicking convert would just miss going through the uprights.

In spite of the loss, Lewis was really pleased with what the team accomplished on the field.

“We were able to move the ball well and were in the red zone three times, but couldn’t convert those into points,” he said.

“Our defense was very stingy and did great in slowing down Lacombe’s running game. Unfortunately, Lacombe capitalized on two big plays in the second half.”

Lewis added the club’s kicking game was excellent in making Lacombe have to play a long field.

He praised the defense’s aggressive nature that kept the pressure on not only Lacombe’s quarterback, but was able to turn the running backs inside to get more help on tackles.

Offensively, Lewis liked the linemen’s ability to fire off the ball that enabled the Broncs’ running back Marcus Saddleback, RJ Littlechild and Nate Sluggett to produce consistent positive yardage.

Timing is something Lewis noted improvement is needed, as it led to several procedure penalties. He also stated the club needs to be better in bringing down ball carriers and not just corralling them.

“These players have zero quit and that’s something you can’t teach. We will continue to work and to improve.”

Still looking

The club will be heading to Olds Sept. 14 to face the Bulldogs and while the season is already underway, there is still an opportunity for kids wanting to play. Those interested or wanting more details can contact Lewis via email at todd.lewis@wolfcreek.ab.ca.

Ponoka’s next home game is Sept. 28 when they face off against Drumheller.

 

Ponoka’s RJ Littlechild was nearly unstoppable early, including this long run in the second quarter that set up the team’s second touchdown. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Ponoka’s RJ Littlechild was nearly unstoppable early, including this long run in the second quarter that set up the team’s second touchdown. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

RJ Littlechild scampers for close to 15 yards during the club’s first quarter drive that would eventually see Littlechild score the first of two touchdowns on the day. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

RJ Littlechild scampers for close to 15 yards during the club’s first quarter drive that would eventually see Littlechild score the first of two touchdowns on the day. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Emily McMillan nearly escaped these Lacombe tacklers on this second quarter punt return. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Emily McMillan nearly escaped these Lacombe tacklers on this second quarter punt return. Photo by Jordie Dwyer