Weeks of preparation will soon culminate in the real deal for the Ponoka bantam Broncs football squad.
Head coach Todd Lewis has been putting his players through the paces at practice, along with an exhibition game in Rocky Mountain House on Friday, Sept. 3, to get them ready for the season which kicks off at home tomorrow (Thursday, Sept. 8). Game time at Ponoka Secondary field is 6 p.m. as the Broncs host Stettler.
“It’s been quite the last few weeks,” Lewis said in an interview last week.
“The majority of the players are quite familiar with our systems, schemes and my philosophy, so I think the season is going to be a good one.”
Arranging the exhibition game is something Lewis felt was necessary to have the team better prepared to begin the season.
“It is certainly very different than doing things in practice. The tempo, sense of urgency and adding some polish to the way they do things is something you can’t really get from going against your own teammates in practice,” he said.
“I really believe it will give us somewhat of an advantage going in, especially in our first game.”
A little more than half of the squad played with the bantam Broncs last season, which Lewis explained makes starting off somewhat easier.
“It’s huge because those players know and have developed the habits we want them to have to be successful,” he said.
“And, they can use those to help model the new players and continue to build on that foundation we have laid. It also helps build everyone to be better.”
Lewis added another great thing he has seen so far is the wonderful attitude and character the team has exhibited, noting the “players are playing for the program, to challenge themselves and build strength, not simply just to win or put points on the board.”
Following the home opener, the bantam Broncs will play another two home games – Sept. 17 versus Lacombe and Sept. 24 against Red Deer’s Lindsay Thurber – followed by their bye week and closing out the regular season with three straight road games.
While Lewis isn’t necessarily pleased with the outcome of the schedule, “I’m not really too concerned about it, but the good thing is we get to play in front of our hometown crowd while the weather is somewhat nicer.”