It came down to the final minute, but thanks to pulling a rabbit out of the hat, the Rimbey Spartans have secured at least third place and will be hosting a semi-final playoff game after defeating the Ponoka Broncs 38-32 last Wednesday afternoon.
Following a see-saw first half that left the teams tied at 16 and continued into the fourth quarter, the two teams exchanged three touchdowns in the final three minutes culminating in a double reverse, flea-flicker that gave the Spartans the victory.
The late antics began with about two and a half minutes remaining the in the game when the Spartans scored a touchdown to take the lead however the Broncs responded quickly with one of their own with just: 29 seconds remaining.
After the ensuing kickoff was returned to mid-field, the Spartans dug into their bag of tricks and pulled out a gadget play and rebounded with yet another touchdown to seal the win.
“We got a bit fortunate at the end, but a ‘W’ is a ‘W’,” said Head Coach Bill Bramfield who added that even if the Spartans were to lose their final regular season against at Caroline this coming Friday, the team will still secure third place based on their head-to-head record against other teams with similar records.
The win upped the Spartans record to 3 wins and 2 losses while Ponoka fell to 2 wins and 3 losses.
As for the success of his team this year, Bramfield was quick to point to his veterans as the reason.
“Well for sure the strength of our team would be the leadership from our quarterback Logan Grundy and the other veterans. We have a pretty strong running back in Ryan Wiens and a good receiver in Kyle Stefanyk,” he said. “On defense, we’ve also got two or three veterans that tend to do a really good job of organizing themselves on the field and are making big plays.”
As for any glaring weaknesses he’s seen this year, Bramfield said they’re few and far between and can be easily overcome.
“We haven’t played a perfect football game – we’ve probably had too many turnovers and we’ve been taking a lot of penalties which has allowed teams stay in it,” the coach said. “I guess we don’t have that ‘killer mentality’ yet because we’re letting teams get off the hook. We’re taking early leads, but we let them back in it, but that’s partially six-man football as well.”
Bramfield said one thing’s for sure, there are certainly no attitude problems on this year’s version of the Spartans and all the players are more than willing to contribute to both the team and the school.
“In terms of general attitude and things like that, the team is actually phenomenal. Around the school one of the things they have to do is give a bit back to the school community and so all of our sports teams, including the football team, has to work the canteen and things like that,” Bramfield said. “But they’ve all been good at doing those sorts of service things in and around the school as part of the privilege of playing the sport. I think they’ve done a really great job – there’s good culture on the team and the school really supports them, so in that regard, it’s great.”
As for preparing for the final regular season game and the upcoming playoffs, the coach said they’d be working on a few technical aspects like cutting down on their errors.
“We’re still looking forward to our best football – I don’t think we’ve played it yet, so our goal over the next couple of weeks as we head into playoffs is just more fine-tuning and trying to eliminate mistakes and continue on with our big plays,” Bramfield concluded.