Bantam Broncs Luke Bonnett makes a catch Sept. 24 at home against the Lindsay Thurber Raiders. The Broncs lost 30-6 but outplayed the Raiders in the second half.

Bantam Broncs show strength in defense

Defense was the name of the game for the Bantam Broncs football team at their last regular home game of the season.

Defense was the name of the game for the Bantam Broncs football team at their last regular home game of the season.

The team came head to head against the Lindsay Thurber Raiders Sept. 24 and despite a 30-6 loss, the team’s defensive line proved a strong force in the second half. Coach Todd Lewis said it was just a matter of execution. “Guys were filling in the gaps.”

“We were playing 12-man. If everyone does their job, logistically no one should get past us.”

A rough first and second quarter and a couple key turnovers hurt the broncs who ended up being 30-0 down at the end of the first half. The second half was all Broncs. Defense turned up the heat refusing the Raiders any chance at a touchdown.

Twice they effectively haulted a third down attempt within yards of the goal line, forcing a turnover that benefited Broncs’ offensive line.

“We put the ball in the offense’s hands as much as we could and as a result we got a score,” said Lewis.

Quarterback Dylan Giles made a huge running play towards the end of the third quarter guaranteeing their only touchdown of the game. A two-point conversion attempt didn’t go quite as planned with Giles barely missing the line. But the team’s spirits were buoyed nonetheless.

“Again Dylan Giles is our stand out player for the game, one of many I should add,” offered Lewis.

“I figure put the ball in his hands and he’ll make something happen.”

Execution continues to be the biggest challenge for the team with botched snaps or missed opportunities. “That’s going to spell doom for your defense right out of the gate there.”

Better snaps, better blocking and better play calling in the second half created the momentum needed, said Lewis.

“When we started this week, we were aiming for improvement,” said Lewis.

And they did just that.

An unnecessary roughness penalty against the Broncs late in the fourth hurt the team’s momentum but they kept at it with the defense making consistent plays. As the game progressed Lewis became more animated in his play calls as he started to adapt to the Raiders’ offense.

Regardless of the team’s regular season record, the Broncs will be heading to playoffs. Lewis wants to see enough improvement that the team plays more than one playoff game.

The rest of the season for the bantam team are away games with the Broncs getting a bye before their contest against Hunting Hills in two weeks. “They’re a powerhouse team.”

The Broncs have six practices before Hunting Hills and the week after will play Notre Dame. Lewis expects the latter to be a tough game.

 

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