The Bonnyville Bandits are off to a tremendous start to the 2019 season.
The defending Wheatland Bantam Football League champs defeated the Wainwright Warhawks in a 61-6 route at Scott Park/Walsh Field on Saturday.
Bandits quarterback Cooper Prybysh ran for three touchdowns and threw for one more while running backs Titus Fagnan and Kyan Delpeche rushed for two touchdowns each.
“We came out a little flat at first. The guys had some nerves but they quickly gathered them. It turned out really good. By the end we had our fourth-string running back [Delpeche], he punched two touchdowns in at the end so it was a good turnout towards the end,” said Bandits coach Robbie Cole.
After a seesaw first few minutes, the Bandits scored the first touchdown of the game but had that quickly come back on them with the Warhawks scoring a kick return touchdown on the ensuing play.
That’s when the field tilted strongly in Bonnyville’s favour with the game in the hands of QB Prybysh.
“He’s a house. He’s hard to bring down. I don’t know how many broken tackles today. It was amazing,” said Cole.
However, despite forcing multiple interceptions, fumbles, and turnovers on downs, Cole said the defence will need some work in the early season with the fundamentals.
“That’s always a thing. Everyone’s trying to tackle high and play paddy cake and they end up sneaking through. I know on that kickoff we didn’t keep our lanes and we had kids flying all over.
“We brought the kids aside and talked to them after and they’re like ‘yeah, yeah, coach.’ And we had a lot of interceptions on defence so we’re doing something in practice, but I think we need to work on tackling because that’s what broke down at times,” said Cole.
Julian Gutierrez Rojas’ speed was on display when turned a reception into a long touchdown with his quickness, giving Prybysh his first touchdown reception of the season.
The Bandits will head to Lloydminster for a tougher Week 2 matchup next week.
“It’s always tough. They have a lot of depth usually and a lot more players and plus we’re playing in their house. Hopefully, we can pull something through. They’re obviously a different team than Wainwright…we’ll work on our zone coverage and our man coverage and go from there.”
In other Wheatland Bantam Football League action, the St. Paul Bengals fell to Lloydminster 49-7 at home on Saturday.
The Cold Lake Ravens were victorious after taking last season off with a 45-40 win over the newest team in the league from Vegreville.