A winless season last year has the Broncs senior football team champing at the bit for a victory at home.
With 15 players returning from last year — under half the full roster of 37 — Coach Scott MacGregor is focusing on improving his players’ skills. “My goal for this team is to improve every day.”
He has been spending practices driving the mantra that the players should expect a fight for the ball from other teams. He uses the 65-0 loss in a recent exhibition game against Sylvan Lake as a learning tool.
While teaching special plays, MacGregor wants the offensive line to move the ball forward to get a first down. One of the ways to do that is with an attitude of strength. “You need to find within yourself that fire…To push the other team to Wetaskiwin.”
Despite the exhibition loss, defensive co-ordinator Brady Teeling still sees the team has a strong drive to win. “I’m finding the kids are really intense.”
The intensity will help them as they learn the tricks of the game, he added.
Teeling’s focus is to ensure players have the tools they need to get better. Players are given individual training, techniques and footwork to help them become better players. Eventually the Broncs practice their new skills in a controlled scrimmage to give them a feel for a real game.
“We really try to emphasize that they have to be intense in practices,” explained Teeling.
He has two focuses: football and life goals. He uses football to teach the players life lessons. With football training, Teeling wants his defense to become stronger. “So we are doing our part for the team.”
If the offensive line performs well the defensive line must also perform to hold the team up. Teeling also works with defensive coaches Cody Baird and Darryl Feschuck.
The loss against Sylvan Lake gave offensive co-ordinator Jamie Blinkhorn a better understanding of what his players need. “It definitely showed me what our weaker spots are.”
He is working on improving the team’s passing game and is giving quarterback Ruger Dye, Grade 12, the receivers needed for a more in-depth offense.
“(I) just want to get more aerial attack involved,” said Blinkhorn.
He looks forward to seeing Dye perform this year as they have been working on running better routes to connect with receivers. “He’s a great quarterback. Just an awesome leader.”
There are seven regular season games for the Ponoka Composite High School Broncs with only two at home; game schedules rotate each year: Sept. 13 against Wetaskiwin at 4:30 p.m. and Oct. 11 against Camrose.
First year for junior Broncs
The junior Broncs football team has joined the Central Football League’s bantam division.
The coach’s position has been taken by Cody Baird who is grateful for the community support. “Everyone kind of just opened their arms up.”
He knows the biggest challenge is getting the players to learn the game as this year is the first year for some players. Baird’s main goal is to get kids involved and “getting them to love the game.”
“I don’t want to leave anyone out,” he added.
The team is open to all Ponoka youths in grades 7 to 9.
Home games for the junior team are scheduled for: Sept. 14 at 2:30 p.m., Oct. 5 at 2 p.m. and Oct. 12 at 11 a.m.