By Dale Cory
On this day, Nicolson had them chase-ing him all over the place.
In six-man football, with all that open field to cover, making the initial tackle is vital to success.
The Ponoka Broncs found that out first hand Sept. 22 on a warm and sunny day at Ponoka Composite High School.
While they had opportunities to make the stop at the line, the Broncs failed to halt elusive Rimbey running back Chase Nicolson, who busted numerous tackles and took advantage of the resulting open field to score three touchdowns, leading the Spartans to a 62-39 Western Alberta Six-man Football league victory over the Broncs.
“I challenged our offensive line and our defensive line this week because we’re usually out-sized in Ponoka,” stressed Spartans head coach Bill Bramfield after the win. “I think they made the difference. Everything starts at the line. I think the victory can be attributed to the offensive and defensive line’s hard work.”
Rimbey improved to 3-0 with the victory, while Ponoka fell to 0-2. The defending league-champion Spartans are definitely firing on all cylinders as they approach the midway point of their eight-game schedule.
“Anything can happen in high school football, especially six-man football, so at the end of the day, we look to see if we get a victory, and if we get a victory, we’re usually pretty happy,” added Bramfield. “The strength of our team is that we have a lot of different weapons. A lot of guys made some big plays for us today.”
And one of those guys was Chase Nicolson.
With Ponoka leading 8-1 after a Zach Lewis touchdown run, Nicolson took charge of the game midway through the opening quarter with a pair of long runs for touchdowns. Broncs defenders had chances to haul down Nicolson, but he eluded everyone on his way to the end zone.
In this back-and-forth game, at least in the first half, Ponoka’s Lewis scored on runs of two and 47-yards early in the second quarter to put the hometown Broncs up 24-17.
Back came the Spartans, who took over the lead for good when Riley Properzi caught a 45-yard touchdown pass, and giant receiver Spencer St. Denis hauled in a 30-yard touchdown reception to give the Rimbey a 33-24 lead at the half.
The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter to keep fans on the edge of their seat.
Scott Pylypow’s major score got Ponoka within a point, but a Rimbey touchdown regained the Spartans’ nine-point lead.
Amara Fofanah scampered 100-yards on a kick return to get Ponoka to within three points, but the Spartans scored three unanswered touchdowns to put the game away.
Nicolson scored one of those majors on a nice run, and finished the day with three touchdowns.
“Last year was Chase’s first year, and right from the start, he made a lot of big plays for us. He’s very athletic, and a tough, cowboy-like player,” says Bramfield, who witnessed Nicolson’s best effort of the year in Ponoka. “He’s been pretty quiet in our first two games this year, but he had three today. He can run like the wind, and he makes those extra yards too He’s one of our key players.”
The Spartans are now 3-0 in their quest for a second-straight Ruby Cup.
After starting the season with a victory at home against Victory Christian Crimson Knights of Edmonton, the Spartans went into Buck Mountain and knocked off the Mustangs, who won all eight regular season games last year, and their first two games this season.
“We knew it was going to be a test, and we beat them by 11 points,” says proud Bramfield. “That was a big confidence booster and I think for the rest of the year, we’ll be recalling that game, because it said a lot about our boys. If we play our game, we can play with anybody.”
Another big test for Rimbey comes Thursday, Sept. 30, when the team travels to Drayton Valley to face the Frank Maddock Warriors.
The Spartans will host the Caroline Cougars Oct. 14 at Rimbey Junior/Senior High School.