High school football season has just begun and the senior Ponoka Broncs have taken advantage of their first week with some serious training.
The Broncs, now in their third year as a 12-man team, were busy much of last week practicing for their upcoming season and offensive co-ordinator Jamie Blinkhorn is pleased with what he sees. This is the first year the senior team had players, approximately 10, come up from the bantam feeder team.
“It’s really nice to have players coming up…that helps right out of the gate,” said Blinkhorn.
Training and teaching is faster with players that are already familiar with the game. Coaches are able to teach specific plays rather than teach kids about the rules. Parents and volunteers are backing the team as well by offering to help during games.
As offensive co-ordinator, Blinkhorn looks forward to what the Broncs have to offer this year. Coaches have recruited hockey players familiar with contact sports and now players from the feeder team.
He feels their biggest challenge will be getting over the losing streak over the past two years. While the Broncs have been on the scoreboard in previous games, they have yet to win a game. The program is still young but Blinkhorn feels winning a game will be positive reinforcement for players. “Just getting that first win under our belt.”
Taking in the quarterback roll is Kellyn Pritchard, Grade 12, who was the Broncs’ secondary quarterback last year.
“What I like most about him is his leadership qualities in the huddle,” said Blinkhorn.
He feels Pritchard has strong athleticism but almost more importantly, composure under pressure. “He’s an intelligent guy.”
Pritchard is just one player on the field though and Blinkorn feels the diverse group of players work well together. “Our team motto is, ‘Lift up your brother,’” Blinkhorn said.
“Football brings them all together and they support each other through that,” he explained.
The coaching staff is comprised of head coach Scott MacGregor, defensive co-ordinator Cody Baird and Darryl Feschuk with special teams.
Blinkhorn says there are opportunities for those with a love of the game to coach or offer help in other ways. He recommends they attend a practice or speak with coaches to find out how to provide assistance.
The Broncs first game is Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. in Wetaskiwin and their home opener is Sept. 19 at 4:30 p.m. against Sylvan Lake.