The Ponoka Bantam Broncs football team hosted the Rocky Junior Rebels for an exhibition game on Saturday, June 4, enjoying a whole day of football.
First, both teams had a joint-practice in the morning where skills were the main focus. Players from both teams were placed into positional groups so they could develop skills specific to their spots on defence and offence.
Both the Bronc and Rebels coaching staffs first led a safe contact period where players practised vice-tackling (using a teammate to funnel a runner into a corner, so to speak).
After safe contact, the coaches split off and the each took a mixture of Broncs and Rebels players for an “indys period” where players learned position-specific skills.
“This period was invaluable,” said Broncs head coach Todd Lewis.”Not only did players learn from different coaches’ experience and coaching styles, it was a chance to bond with opponents and create friendships outside of their own teams.”
After the joint practice, both teams headed into Ponoka Secondary Campus where parent volunteers made lunch for the hungry footballers. When all were fed and fuelled up, both teams headed back to the field to ready themselves for the afternoon game.
The teams played modified rules that simulated regular game play. The main difference was there were augmented special teams.
Head coaches kicked for their respective squads while the players filled the other roles. Offences had to move the ball 10 yards to earn a first down.
For first-time players, this was the first time they’d experienced downs-and-distances.
“The game was fantastic, seeing great play from both teams,” said Lewis. “The Bantam Broncs had much of their offensive playbook installed and it showed.”
The Broncs ran the ball up the gut and outside with ease,” he said.
The team’s ball carriers did a great job following blocks and trucking through opponents when there was no space.
Defensively, the Broncs were hard-nosed and stingy. Their positioning was excellent and put the Broncs in the right spot to make tackles, force fumbles, and make interceptions (of which the Broncs caught four).
No. 9 Declan McLaughlin had four receptions and scored a pair of TDs.
No. 38 Talon Graham recorded numerous tackles for losses. Additionally, he had many great carries as a power back (including an 11-yard carry with half the Rocky roster on his back).
No. 15 Carter Buller lead the offensive charge as QB. He made excellent reads, handoffs, and passes all game. He even called a few audibles when realizing his receivers had no defence covering them.
No. 7 Cruz Minde made big plays in both defence and offence. After picking off an errant Rebels pass, Cruz scored a TD on the resulting offensive drive.
The Broncs are now done their spring session.
– Submitted by head coach Todd Lewis