The Sylvan Lake Lions played their season’s first football game against the Ponoka Broncs on Saturday afternoon in Ponoka and won a victorious 38-6.
Winning this game was great for the team as head coach Vic Sloboda said some of the players had never played a football game before.
He said it was a highlight to see all the players walking away from the game grinning from their win.
This win is bittersweet as even though the team won their first game, Sloboda said all their weaknesses were exposed.
“There’s a lot of work the boys still need to do,” he said. “We enjoyed the win on the weekend but now we get back to work at practice.”
Some of what the players need to work on is their blocking, running and knowing the plays better, Sloboda said.
At the game Sloboda was glad that all the players who had showed up at practice had a chance to play on the field, which he said was exciting.
“The best thing about the game to me was that everybody got to play,” Sloboda said. “I had a couple of them come to me and thank me for giving them a chance to play on the field, and that was incredibly rewarding.”
Trying to get all the players onto the field is the goal, but sometimes some of the new players just aren’t ready to be on the field and may get injured.
“If you go up against a really tough team, some of those guys don’t care who’s on the other side, they will just hurt them,” Sloboda said.
This game proved to be foundational with the players getting some game time and some field experience, and now Sloboda said he won’t be so afraid of his players being on the field.
“It was good to play a team like Ponoka,” Sloboda said. “Everybody was on the field and everybody had a chance to play and do different stuff.”
From playing against Ponoka, the Lions now know what they need to do, and this week they will be working at improving their skills.
Sloboda has faith in his players and said they are good learners and now they have a game of reference to be coached on.
“Now we can coach them and say, ‘this is what happened in the game, but this is where we need you to be,’ so let’s up our game here,” Sloboda said.
Even though expectations are low right now, Sloboda wants every player to correct one mistake in practice this week to prepare for the next game.
“I expect better results next week and I know they are going to give them,” Sloboda said.
The next game will be Saturday, Sept. 12, at Great Chief Park in Red Deer at 1 p.m.