The Ponoka Bantam Broncs football team played their semi-final league championship match Oct. 22, trouncing the visiting Strathmore Badgers 58-14.
The win means the Broncs will now compete in the Pool A championship — a first for the team. They will come up against the Olds Bulldogs on the road Oct. 29.
“Strathmore was the best team that we’ve faced so far this season,” said Broncs head coach Todd Lews. “They were physical and passed the ball well, however, our Broncs remained resilient and stayed focused on their goals.”
The Broncs started the game firing on all cylinders, being the first to hit the board with back-to-back scoring plays early in the first quarter.
The Broncs kicked off and their defence shut down Strathmore, getting the ball back for Ponoka’s defence.
The home team scored their first touchdown in four plays with an outside run by No. 1 Cruz Minde.
Lewis said the team’s offensive was explosive all game, running up the middle and outside with great efficiency.
No. 2 Westin Potts and No. 11 Carson Frank both had massive games as quarterback, completing numerous passes, many of which converted as touchdowns.
“This is amazing for bantam level football,” said Lewis.
Defensively, the Broncs had their biggest test of the season.
“Strathmore’s passing attack was efficient and they were able to move the ball in the air. That being said, the Broncs defensive line had their best game of the season yet.”
The Broncs pressured the Strathmore QB constantly, limiting his time in the pockets, resulting in numerous sacks and poorly thrown balls.
After four quarters, the Broncs’ defence limited the Badgers to 14 points.
“This is a huge accomplishment as Strathmore was the number two offence in the Central Alberta Football League,” said Lewis.
“On special teams, the Broncs shined. The team enjoyed great field position thanks to how we returned kicks and punts as well we covered our kicks.”
After their second touchdown, the Broncs kicked onside and recovered the ball, capitalizing on the extra chance to score.
“It shifted momentum even further in our direction.”
Lewis added the Broncs did, however, struggle with kicking point-after field goals.
No. 12 Nash Ronnie was a “beast” on both sides of the ball, recording numerous tackles and running for over 150 yards, scoring several touchdowns.
Minde and No. 4 Truce Beaverbones were “once again phenomenal” as the team’s tandem slotbacks.
“They made key blocks, had tons of passing receptions, and scored many touchdowns. They even played on defence and made key plays there as well.”
Truce was nominated by Strathmore as the Broncs’ MVP of the game.
No. 69 Carson McKay was “a terror on the offensive and defensive lines.” He was in the Badgers’ backfield often and lead the team in tackles.
No. 75 Dominik Desjarlais was reliable and effective at defensive end. Strathmore attempted to break containment on his side of the field numerous times and he penned them in every time.
“It’s his first year of football and he already looks like a seasoned pro,” said Lewis.
No. 14 Hayden Rain was everywhere on the field as linebacker. He made numerous key tackles and consistently came downhill.
No. 6 Kaiden Jeffrey had a high-effort came and was hustling all over the field.
“He always blocked ferociously and even recovered an onside kick.”
The Bulldogs are sure to be a tough opponent in the final as they were the number one seed and also had an undefeated season. The won their last game against the Drumheller Titans at a comfortable 59-18.
“They have a potent offence and deep roster,” said Lewis. “It will be the biggest test of our season.”