The Ponoka bantam Broncs football squad have completed their summer training camp and the hope is they will be able to play some actual games this fall.
After a three-week camp, which was delayed several months due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Broncs wound things up with a controlled scrimmage in Lacombe against the bantam Raiders squad.
Broncs head coach Todd Lewis explained the two clubs alternated playing offence and defence over two hours on July 15, which is typical for a pre-season or training camp.
“It allows the kids to focus on those two phases of football,” Lewis said, adding more time will be dedicated to special teams once a fall season is announced.
“We were up against a very large and experienced Lacombe team, but we battled the whole time.”
The exhibition match-up showed Lewis just what the team is good at and where there is some work to be done.
“There are some areas that we need to focus on — namely pass blocking and containing the outside runs on defence,” he said.
“The coaches were excited to see our players improve throughout and learn from their mistakes. While competing and winning are important, the focus of games like this are to reveal issues so we can improve on them later.”
Lewis added the camp was a big success with the players continuously learning and improving. The Broncs have a very new and young roster, with more than half of the players having just two weeks of football under their belts before this game in Lacombe.
“The players were excited to review the game film and learn. While the Raiders controlled the game, our Broncs played extremely well against a bigger, faster, older and more experienced team,” he said.
“Our Broncs played with ceaseless effort and courage. There’s a lot that goes into making a team successful — speed, aggression, technical skill and football IQ.
“However, the most important trait, we are thrilled to see the character our players displayed. With more time and training (and a few more recruits), our team is going to have an amazing season.”
That new season however, remains up in the air as league play will only be allowed when the province announces Phase III of the COVID-19 relaunch plan and there is no indication that is coming any time soon.
For Lewis, the hope is there, so it’s simply a wait-and-see.
“It’s tough to say whether or not there will be a season,” he said.
“At the end of the day, the safety of our members is number one and we will follow all Football Alberta and AHS (Alberta Health Services) guidelines given to us. Our players have their fingers crossed that everything clears up for September — they’re itching to play some more football.”