The Bonnyville football has been dominating, the Bantam Bandits are undefeated, while the Peewee Renegades have only lost one game this year. The Renegades are fairly new to the league, formed in 2013, and have already made a huge name for themselves in the Lloyd Minor Football Association League.
The league was formed as a tool for developing players for the Bantam league. It started with three teams from Lloydminster who played each other, then grow to include Wainwright, and in 2013 Bonnyville. A Lloydminster squad folding last year, bringing the league down to four. Each team plays each other four times in a season.
“We’re trying to teach them the basics, so when they go to the Bandits, they don’t have to spend all that time teaching them the basics,” says Head Coach of the Renegades, Kevin Sartain. “We’re not trying to complicate their lives.”
Head Coach Sartain says he’s very proud of what his team has accomplished this season, “we lost out first game, 44-14, but we didn’t play to our full potential. We just didn’t come out and play how we can. We won our next three after that and our closest victory was by 40 points.”
The Renegades will have a chance to make good on the first game they dropped, a rematch against the Lloydminster Colts is scheduled for Saturday. “They’re the number one team, but I think we’ll take them,” says Coach Sartain, “it’ll definitely be a good battle.” Sartain is looking beyond Saturday and calling a repeat to the Championships for the Renegades, “we’ll be a Championship team again.”
Last season Sartain wasn’t as sure of his team, “it was a really competitive league. We lost to the Colts, then beat the Stealers, then the Stealers beat the Colts. It was anyone’s game. It was really hard because no one knew who was the dominate team.” Things are different in ’15, says Sartain, “we’re the dominate team.”
The Renegades will need to win one of their next two games to host the Semi-finals. “If we win the semis, it’ll depend where we sit in the standings, where the championships will be held,” Sartain explains he’d love to play out the big match in front of the home crowd. Should they beat out the four teams in their league to be the Champions, the Renegades will head to provincials to face the best of 40-odd teams from across Alberta.
“This is only our third year and I think we’re be in the Championship again, I couldn’t ask for a better team,” community support is huge in Bonnyville, explains Sartain, “we get so much community support, the stands are usually packed.” It’s not just the community, Sartain’s family has been a huge force in allowing him to do what he loves, coaching football. “I’m really lucky, my family really supports me.” Sartain starting coaching three years ago to support his son, Mason. Mason’s taken a year off from playing but attends every game with Sartain’s wife, Stacy, their other son, Caleb and daughter Peyton.
Saturday the Sartain will be cheering on the Renegades at home. Bonnyville will see a double-header on Walsh Field, the Renegades take the field at 3:00 pm and the Bandits with take on the Lloydminster Chargers right afterwards.