Thursday, Oct. 1 was not a very luck day for Ponoka’s senior Broncs, to put it mildly, as they have lost not only the game against Wetaskiwin Sabres but also two captains of the team to serious injury that may keep them away from the field for some time.
The evening game in Wetaskiwin started in mild and bright weather with the hosts losing no time getting on the scoreboard with a kick return touchdown and convert taking an early lead in the first minutes of the game.
Broncs’ Braeden Korchinski returned the favor in the seventh minute and it was tied 7-7. But Sabres executed a carbon copy of the same play that brought them the lead in the first minute and responded to the kick of the Broncs with another 70-yard rushing touchdown: 14-7.
The Broncs could hit back with a field goal with Hector Ibarra, making it 14-10 before the end of the first quarter, but that was all the score that would come from the Ponoka boys in the course of the game.
The back-to-back rushing touchdowns in the first quarter negatively impacted the morale among the already short roster of Broncs players. Adding insult to the injury were the penalties given by the refs, which led to loss of much yardage on the part of Broncs throughout the game. While Sabres also received penalties, the main difference was that the host team could capitalize on the penalties given to Broncs while Ponoka boys failed to capture similar opportunities to turn them into scores.
Early in the second half, Broncs quarterback and one of the captains, DJ Horne had to be sent to hospital for what was thought to be an elbow dislocation. Minutes after that, another captain, Kelly Cook sprained his ankle severely and he had to be bandaged and sent to hospital as well. At the time of print, it was not known whether they would be able to dress for the game in Camrose on Thursday, Oct. 8.
With the quarterback Horne down, Korchinski stepped up to the role and tried to set up a number of passing plays but his passes kept being intercepted by the Sabres. Korchinski also scored a touchdown after recovering the ball from a Sabres fumble in the third quarter, but it was disallowed on grounds of a blocking foul.
With a low morale and significant exhaustion taking their toll on the team, Broncs lost the game 50-10.
Braeden Korchinski once again proved to be the toughest-minded Bronc on the field playing on both offence and defence, performing all the tasks from tackling ball carriers to scoring touchdowns.
Special teams coordinator Darrel Feschuk said after the game that with many players taking on both offensive and defensive roles, it was a heavy burden on the players to carry through a tough game.
“We are being beat up,” said defensive coordinator Cody Baird in reference to the injuries.
Offensive coordinator Jamie Blinkhorn said had it not been for the two kick return touchdowns in the first period, it could have been a different game.
Senior Broncs now head to Camrose for their next game while junior Broncs host Hunting Hills of Red Deer at the Ponoka Secondary Campus football field at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10.