By Dale Cory
It’s taken a lot of blood, sweat, and tears from Scott MacGregor.
The tears came Sept. 2 when his Ponoka Composite High School football team suffered a season-opening loss to Drayton Valley.
As for the blood and sweat — well, that came during the summer holidays.
You see, while most school teachers were lazing by the pool, sipping margaritas and enjoying the peace and quiet of no classroom chatter for two months, MacGregor, head coach of the Broncs six-man football team, was hard at work.
He wasn’t recruiting, and he wasn’t preparing for September classes. Instead, MacGregor could be found at the school virtually everyday, building the framework for a high school football program that has grown exponentially in four years.
When renovations at the school left the team without a dressing room/equipment room, MacGregor was forced to take on a major project. His goal was to build a place the team, the school, and the town of Ponoka could be proud of.
MacGregor, with the help of many players on the team and the support of community businesses and individuals, has erected a 24 x 40-foot building located just south of the football field. Cost of the new dressing room, including labour and material, came in at $20,000.
“Right now we call it the Broncs’ Stable. But we’re looking for a business that can take the bull by the horns and be our major sponsor,” says MacGregor. “What’s it going to be called? We want a major sponsor which can take over naming rights.”
The building, green of course to match Broncs colours, includes a 24 x 30-foot dressing room, an equipment/coaches room, and a concession area.
The new dressing room is a vast improvement over what players used in the past, which was a small corner that contained all the players gear, and minimal seating. Essentially, they were a football team without a dressing room.
That’s no longer the case.
“It’s very roomy and it doesn’t smell bad. There’s a lot more space in there, and it’s easier to move around and get your gear on,” says Dusty Lawrence, a senior on the team. “The new football room allows us to join as a group and actually be a football team.”
The new dressing room was available to the players for their Western Albert Six-man Football League season opener Sept. 2.
“It was awesome. Without it, we would have been getting dressed outside. It’s far better, it’s nicer, and it’s bigger,” said Scott Pylypow, an apprenticing carpenter in his third year with the team. “I spent probably 30 to 40 hours working on it. Me and another player, Tanner McLaren, painted the inside and built all the stalls. We have time invested into it, so it’s just that much better.”
There is now sufficient space for the Broncs 23-man roster to properly prepare for a game, allowing coaches to address the team as a group during game preparations.
“I love teaching phys. ed. at the comp. We have an amazing school with an amazing staff, and amazing administration. I love my job,” says MacGregor. “The extra-curricular part of my job is coaching football. When the program was developed four years ago, we didn’t have a facility at all. Now, with this dressing room, and the field, we have one of the best facilities in the province. We’re very proud of the work that’s been done here and the support the community has given us this far. We’re asking for that continued support.”
Taking into account the dedication of the players, who can be found out on the practice field at 6:30 a.m. three times a week, MacGregor believes taking the football program to a higher level is well worth the effort of erecting the Broncs dressing room.
“I’m very proud of the boys this year. Our attendance has not been an issue, considering our early-morning workouts. Kids know they owe that time to the football team,” says MacGregor. “That speaks to the program we’ve got here.”
Pylypow summarized the new Broncs dressing room by stating the following.
“One of our mottos is, ‘this is our house’. Now we truly do have a house.”
The Broncs have received support from the following businesses and individuals… Usona Ag Society, Peter and Sandra Brak, Ponoka Chrysler Jeep, Thermal Design Insulation of Edmonton, Travis Hauger, Phase 3 Electric of Ponoka, Sommers Home Hardware of Ponoka, Rick Barr, Dentist, Alex Cripps, Ponoka, and Hamilton’s IGA.
Next up for the Broncs… After taking part in a football jamboree last weekend at Clarke Park in Edmonton, the Broncs return to league action Wednesday, Sept. 22 with a home game against Rimbey. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. at Ponoka Composite.