The Bantam Broncs football team made the most of their last game of a short spring season, playing a friendly intersquad game against each other — black versus green.
The Broncs were to play a rematch against Springbank on Sunday, June 27, but the visiting team pulled out due to the heat wave.
Not willing to lose out on the team’s last game of the season, and the graduating players’ last game as Bantam Broncs, head coach Todd Lewis quickly organized a solution, dividing up the roster into two teams.
In an email, Lewis said it was important to hold the final game because it was the “culmination of our hard work, passion, and commitment to success.”
The game was kept as authentic as possible, with smoke bombs starting off the game, refs present and Kelly McCheynne announcing.
Lewis says the intersquad game was one of their most competitive yet and he honestly thinks the game went better than it would have if they had played Springbank.
“Both teams were neck-and-neck for the majority of the game and it felt like it could go either way,” said Lewis.
“Despite many of our players stepping into new spots for the first time, they were still able to execute effectively. I’m extremely proud of their versatility and overall football ability.”
The game had a “ton of highlights,” says Lewis.
“Quarterback Carter Karwandy was an offensive threat every snap and kept Team Black in the game even when Team Green’s defense was firing on all cylinders.
“Cole Carlson was a huge defensive threat, tallying numerous tackles for the day.
“Grade 6 Carson Frank had some big plays, despite being the youngest Bronc on the team. Late in the fourth quarter, he ran a reverse off a kick return that was very slick.”
The help fill out the roster, some Grade 10 alumni joined in as well.
“Not only did this allow current bantams a chance to rest, but it gave the grade tens a chance to play too — They haven’t had a chance to play for over a year.”
The game ended 21-0 for Team Black.
Graduating player Karwandy, 15, says the intersquad game was better than he expected.
Although he was disapointed the second game with Springbank was cancelled, playing against his teammates was “definitely something different,” he said.
The team has come along way from when they first started playing together, he says, adding the younger players really stepped up this year.
Half of their o-line were Grade 7 players in the game against Springbank and Karwandy was worried when their starting centre went down. However, the Broncs’ o-line held their blocks well and was a match for Springbank’s which was mostly Grade 9s, he says.
To all the graduating players, Karwandy says although he didn’t play with the team for very long due to injuries, they had a lot of good times.
He added that of all the sports he plays, he enjoyed the team atmosphere with the bantam Broncs the most.
Luke Doornewaard, 14, has also played his last season with the bantam Broncs.
If Doornewaard could pick a theme for this past season, it would be “adversity,” he says.
“Although we were in a bad situation with COVID and stuff, they made the best of it and represented Ponoka and did their best to make the best of it,” he said.
Although they didn’t get to practice and play as much as usual, by the end of the season, they were still a pretty good team, he says.
“All the kids who came out did a great job and helped to make this year, the last year, a good one.”
Doornewaard says the friendly game between the Broncs was “a pretty fun way to end things … just a nice closure to the season.”
He added that there was some friendly competition and it was fun to “beat up” his friends.
Doornewaard says they’re really lucky to have Coach Lewis, who gives 100 per cent dedication to the team.
“He just loves to teach kids football and want to given everyone the opportunity.”