By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye
If you were a coach of an undefeated football team and you had to face your first loss of the season, how would you react?
PCHS Broncs’ football coach Scott MacGregor might just have the answer you are looking for, especially since his team’s 74-29 loss does not count toward the regular season.
The Broncs hosted undefeated Buck Mountain Central Mustangs in a friendly exhibition game on a cool Oct. 5 afternoon. The players were far from cold though as they had to work harder than ever this game to try and stop the Mustangs from taking over their turf.
A series of early penalties however appeared to slow down much of their momentum.
“We learned that numerous penalties early on can hurt,” said MacGregor.
A touchdown in the first minutes by Josh Simmons was reversed due to an unnecessary roughness call against the Broncs that seemed to take some of the fire out of their play. There were seven unnecessary roughness penalties in the first quarter against the team and confidence drained out of the players.
MacGregor explained the team had never been in a situation like this before and both players and coaching staff lost some of their composure.
The Mustangs took advantage of lost momentum and seemed unstoppable in the first half. They recovered two Broncs’ fumbles and one interception.
Mustangs’ quarterback Tanner Chappell anticipated defensive plays by the Broncs and completed five touchdown passes.
During the halftime break, Broncs coaches and players regrouped and looked at their strategy. They were trailing the Mustangs 58-8 and a drastic change in play was in order.
“Thank goodness for halftime where we kind of settled down, we adjusted our offence and we came back,” explained MacGregor.
After kickoff in the second half, the Broncs had the look of an undefeated team. They were quicker to block and sacked Chappell twice in the third quarter. The hesitancy in the first was replaced by purpose in the second. MacGregor felt it was good for the Broncs to play against a team as “smooth” as the Mustangs, they saw how composure and loss of momentum can effect performance. The coach saw growth in how the team needed to change their game and the execution of their plan. Indeed, the Broncs outscored the Mustangs in the second half by five points — too late to change the tide.
Buck Mountain players did win but not without the Broncs making them work hard for their points.
It was, “the most wonderful loss of the season,” said MacGregor, who is proud of his team for being able to regroup in the second and for their sportsmanship.
The coach plans to work on the team’s defensive strengths with tackling and blocking. He intends to capitalize on the lessons learned against the Mustangs when they host the St. Joseph’s Collegiate Crusaders on Oct. 14.