By Dale Cory
Scott MacGregor found himself in a rather unenviable position last week.
The school year had yet to begin. Students were still enjoying their final week of laziness before the start of classes, and yet, there was MacGregor preparing his Ponoka Composite High School football team for regular season action.
Of all the sports, football may be the toughest on its coaches, who must train a group of players for game action by teaching them a series of plays which must be completed to perfection to achieve success. In fact, MacGregor had only three workouts to get his boys ready, and it showed on the field.
The Broncs kicked off the Western Alberta Six-Man Football League regular season Sept. 2 with a tough 42-24 loss to the visiting Frank Maddock Warriors of Drayton Valley.
The game was played in perfect weather conditions consisting of total sunshine and a warm temperature. Unfortunately, Macgregor didn’t see perfection from his squad, which trailed early, battled back, but fell apart in the third quarter, resulting in the 18-point defeat.
“First game of the year, it’s always going to be rusty at first, and I think we were kind of taken off guard by how well-prepared Drayton Valley was. We struggled in the first half. But after our talk at half time, I was happy with the way the guys re-focused and responded in the second half,” said MacGregor after the game. “We know we’re going to see Drayton Valley deep in the playoffs, and that’s a team we’re going to have to beat sometime through the year.”
After the Warriors jumped into an early 10-0 lead, quarterback Zack Louis gained a lane along the right sideline and rambled 30 yards for a touchdown to get the Broncs within two points.
But the visiting Warriors reeled off a pair of major scores and took a 24-8 lead into the halftime break.
Drayton Valley continued to put points on the board early in the third quarter until Ponoka gained some momentum, and got back in the game after Tanner McLaren ran 53 yards for a touchdown, and Scott Pylypow plunged over the goal line from one yard out to make the score 42-24.
The Broncs were moving the ball in the fourth quarter and were in scoring range when Drayton Valley recovered a fumble, ending any thoughts of a Ponoka comeback.
Despite the defeat, MacGregor still saw some positives from his crew.
“Taylor Kim had a big play in the first half. He got hit extremely hard but still hung on to the football for a big first down, which led to a touchdown. That was our bright spot in the first half,” says MacGregor. “In the second half, Alex Swanson had a ton of tackles.”
MacGregor, who held tryouts last May and June, and implored his troops to be in game shape for the regular season, will now get some time to perfect his game plan.
“We’re going to work on our conditioning, and get these boys in shape for four quarters — not only physically, but mentally,” insists MacGregor. “They need to be focused the entire game, not just for spurts here and there.”
The Broncs will host Rimbey Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 4 p.m.