As Broncs hosted Stettler’s Wildcats in the second home game of the season on Thursday, Sept. 10, there were more promising signs of improvement in both the defensive and offensive plays, but the scoreboard still showed 37-8 for the visitors at the final whistle.
It was clear from the start that it would be a big challenge for the defensive line to stop the taller and faster Stettler offense, and even a bigger challenge for the offense to breakthrough the experienced defense of the visitors.
Wildcats did not take long to get on the scoreboard but with only a field goal instead of a touchdown after Broncs defense forced them to resort to a kick when they stopped them beyond their 10-yard line in a second down. Wildcats scored their first touchdown in final minute of the first quarter and with a two-point conversion the score stood at 11-0. Wildcats scored again twice in the second quarter but failed to convert after each TD to make the score 23-0 as the first half approached its end. In the final minute of the half, as Broncs offense was struggling to approach the Wildcat red zone, a penalty on procedure against the Wildcats put the Broncs offense within six yards of the goal line. Ponoka boys tried hard but could not produce a TD out of the play, instead forcing the Wildcats to a safety, which still put the hosts on the scoreboard with two points:23-2.
With the second half, Wildcats kept their intense pace but Broncs also stepped up their game in both offense and defense.
The visitors scored two more touchdowns, one in the third quarter and the second in the last, with the converts bringing one point after each one, the score stood at 37-2 as the game went into the last two minutes of the regulation. That was when the Broncs finally managed to penetrate the Wildcats’ red zone and quarterback D.J Horne scored the sole touchdown for the Ponoka side but the two-point convert attempt after that was not fruitful.
Offensive coordinator for the Broncs Jamie Blinkhorn was sanguine about the game despite the score. “Our schemes work, offense moved the ball and defense was great,” he said. “We just need better execution of them.”
Blinkhorn stressed, however, that conditioning would be a greater challenge as the season progressed because of the limited number of players available for the games. Because of the players have both offensive and defensive functions, players are likely to get exhausted during the games unless their physical fitness improves.
Junior Broncs lose to Lacombe
As for the junior Broncs, their Saturday, Sept. 12 game in Lacombe ended with a 56-12 loss with A. J. Perez and Jared Bussiere scoring the two touchdowns for the Ponoka boys.
Junior Broncs head coach Todd Lewis praised the defense for making several goal line stops again and said the hosts had a big advantage in terms of size and game execution. Howvever, he admitted that they would have to keep working on special teams execution with a few their punts blocked at their own end.
Junior Broncs will travel this week to Stettler on Saturday, Sept. 19.
Senior Broncs for their part will host the league’s newest team Drayton Valley at 4:30 at the high school field on Thursday, Sept. 17.