<ins>(Photos by Sam Leavitt Photography) </ins>

(Photos by Sam Leavitt Photography)

Ponoka Bantam Broncs head coach says season no less successful after losing final

Coach Lewis: ‘I hope Ponoka is proud of them’

It’s not the ending they wanted, but the Ponoka Bantam Broncs can hold their heads high after their undefeated season and making it to the league championship final.

After winning the semi-final game against the Strathmore Badgers with a comfortable 58-14 berth, the Broncs punched their ticket to Olds to battle it out with the Olds Bulldogs for the league title on Oct. 29.

Although they had a promising start, the Broncs ultimately lost the game 32-12.

“While the hearts of our Broncs are heavy with the championship loss, we know that that does not define our season,” said head coach Todd Lewis.

READ MORE: Ponoka Bantam Broncs win semi-final in decisive 58-14 victory

The Broncs drew first blood with a pass by Westin Potts hauled in by Truce Beaverbones, ending the first quarter 6-0 in their favour.

Early in the second quarter, Olds made a passing touchdown of their own. With the following point after touchdown kick good, Olds was up 8-6.

“This was the first time all season where the Broncs trailed,” said Lewis.

“Admittedly, this hurt our momentum.”

On the following kick return, the Broncs moved the ball far up field and had good field position until they fumbled the ball.

Olds scored immediately after, moving the score to 6-16 — another blow to their momentum, said Lewis.

Although the Broncs continued playing with 100 per cent effort, Olds was a strong team that wouldn’t buckle.

“We struggled to move the ball due to intense pressure from the Olds defensive line. We had to punt the ball often, giving Olds’ offence more chances to score,” he said.

“We had little adversity on the way to the championship. While the Broncs were mentally tough, not having to be resilient until the final game made it harder to forge a comeback in the second half of the game.”

Lewis said the team’s success has never been measured by the scoreboard, and as a whole, the team had a phenomenal season.

The Broncs showed up early for practice, studied playbooks, worked hard in every practice, setup player-lead extra practices, and organized player-lead team meetings weekly, according to Lewis.

“Their commitment, maturity, and football-IQ consistently blew their coaching staff’s minds,” he said, adding that two-thirds of the players were new this year.

“They are a true team: a tight-knit group of brothers who battled to the very last second of 2022. I hope Ponoka is proud of them. I am.”

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