Ponoka’s senior Broncs played their first playoff game against Stettler Wildcats on Wednesday, Oct 15 and had the lead for part of the first half of the game, proving a point to a team that shut them out only five days earlier on home ground.
Broncs lost the game in the end with a score of 41-22, but it was a game that outgoing Grade 12 players in the team will be able to keep as a pleasant of memory of their last year of high school football.
The game clock showed just 1 min and 21 seconds when the roaring Broncs quarterback Kellyn Pritchard scored the first touchdown of the game with an 80-yard dash to the Wildcats end zone, ending the thirst of the Ponoka players and their bench for the big score, which lasted many games. DJ Horne’s successful conversion gave the visitors a 7-0 lead.
Although Broncs defense held off the Wildcats in the next five minutes, the hosts were able to score their first touchdown in the 7th, bringing balance to the scoreboard after a successful convert. But the first quarter still ended with a Broncs lead when Dallon Perry intercepted the ball during a Wildcats pass play and found the Wildcats red zone with a 60-yard rush in the final two seconds, but without a successful convert: 13-7.
The second quarter started with both sides trying to maintain possession of the ball to extend their drives with quite a number of turnovers on both sides. The deadlock was broken by the Wildcats when the Stettler quarterback scored a touchdown in the 9th minute and with the convert complete, Wildcats took the lead: 14-13. Broncs quarterback Pritchard responded with a field goal two minutes later, only to give away the lead again within 40 seconds as a result of Wildcats touchdown. Convert was successful and the first half ended 21-16 for the hosts.
Wildcats dominated the second half of the game with Broncs demonstrating a few flashes of brilliance in both offense and defense during the plays. The hosts scored three more touchdowns in the second half while Colton Mykat of Broncs added one more score to the Broncs’ tally just two seconds from the end of regulation, sealing the final score as 41-22 as the convert attempt failed.
Head coach Scott MacGregor said after the game that he was proud with the way Broncs played.
“We were well prepared. I think we did very well in the first quarter avoiding penalties, but as the game went on we lost a step, we had big penalties,” MacGregor said.
“This is the same team which shut us out just last week. But this week, we put 22 points on the board and I am very happy with that.“
Senior Broncs will now play Wetaskiwin in a road game on Thursday, Oct.23 at 6 p.m.
As for junior Broncs, despite having lost 56-6 in an away playoff game to Cochrane last Saturday, the Ponoka team still advanced to the next round as the Cochrane team was disqualified for having included over-age players in their roster.
Junior Broncs are expected to play Olds next Saturday, Oct. 25.