Two seasons possible for Ponoka’s bantam Broncs

Plans are to play 9-man fall schedule, then regular 12-man league in spring

The pandemic has seen some big changes to bantam football in the region, with the possibility of two seasons.

Recently, the Central Alberta Football League (CAFL) decided to postpone its regular season until spring 2021, due to the gathering and cohort restrictions.

However, a suggestion by Ponoka Broncs head coach Todd Lewis, will see a 9-man bantam developmental league go this fall featuring Ponoka, Olds, Lacombe, Drumheller and Rocky Mountain House.

“Between our six teams, we are able to play a round robin while following Football Alberta and Alberta Health Services guidelines on cohorts of 50 people or less and other restrictions,” Lewis said.

“As a result, we can play a game, then 14 days after that teams can form new cohorts with different teams and begin the process all over again.”

The process will run until November with the hope that Phase III of the province’s relaunch will be in place in time for the rescheduled CAFL season.

“I am very excited as the kids on the team get to have two seasons. We have a great group this year and I am thrilled at the prospect of coaching them for two seasons,” Lewis said, adding the rules don’t change much.

“In terms of 9-man, it has been an adjustment for the coaches and players — going with three ineligible linemen — but there will be lots of opportunities offensively.”

The Broncs schedule kicks off on the road in Stettler Sept. 12 and then host Olds on Sept. 27 before heading to Drumheller on Oct. 17 and ending things on home soil Nov. 1 versus Rocky Mountain House.

He added Football Alberta has done a great job creating its guidelines and he believes this can be done.

“I’m confident these guidelines will give our Broncs an opportunity to not only play and develop, but to do so safely,” he said.

“I am grateful for the chance to have a season. These kids have lost so much and extracurricular/sports are so important for physical and mental health. Being able to suit up and play some football with teammates is a relief for many of our players.”

Any Grade 7 to 9 kids that are interested can still participate by reaching out to Lewis at todd.lewis@wolfcreek.ab.ca.

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