Broncs Jared Bussiere races Drayton Valley would be tacklers to the end zone, where he would score the game’s final touchdown with no time remaining. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Ponoka Broncs take hard-earned victory in final home game

Broncs shutout Drayton Valley, put themselves in position for first ever playoff appearance

Ponoka’s senior football squad made school history this past week with their first shutout win.

The Broncs posted a 22-0 win over Drayton Valley on home field Oct. 5 and, in the process, clinched the team’s first ever appearance in the Central Albert Rural High School Football League. The win has the club with a record of three wins and two losses, heading into a bye this week.

It was a defensive struggle in the opening half, with the Broncs managing just a single in the first quarter. Ponoka extended their lead three minutes into the second quarter on a seven yard touchdown plunge by Joel Hollingsworth.

Turnovers were everywhere in the third quarter, but Broncs’ Jared Bussiere helped the home side capitalize on one courtesy of a 56-yard romp for a touchdown.

Bussiere would add one more major score on the game’s final play, while Conner Stiles kicked all three converts.

For the coaching staff, this is totally foreign territory.

“The whole team morale is completely different. We have been working on the players’ confidence, finishing games and knowing that they can win,” stated Broncs’ offensive coordinator Jamieson Blinkhorn.

“Previously, we’ve been in games — whether up at half time or down by a few points — but then it was like the players felt they couldn’t do it. Now, we have finally been able to built that confidence up and the players know they have that winning mentality.”

Other big keys to the Broncs’ success this season has been the club’s focus and play execution to go alongside limiting the penalties and playing with both physical and mental toughness.

“We are trying to spread the ball around plus work on other areas and the players have bought into it with many stepping up for us.”

The Broncs have this week off, which Blinkhorn noted is a good thing as there are some players that could use the rest in order to heal up.

The final game of the regular season is Oct. 18 in Rocky Mountain House (kick-off at 4 p.m.), a contest that Blinkhorn added the Broncs can’t look past even though Rocky has yet to post a victory.

The Broncs will then await to find out where they will be travelling to for the league semi-final on Oct. 26.

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Ponoka’s Nolan Bull corrals the Drayton Valley punt returner near mid-field late in the second quarter, one of the many special teams plays made by the Broncs in the 22-0 win. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

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