Tuesday , 3 August 2021

Bandits Open Season with Huge Road Win

Bantam Bandits take Wainwright Commandos 54-0 to Open Season

Photo credit: Teri Prevost Bonnyville Bandits Facebook Page 

Coming off a Provincial winning season, the Bonnyville Bantam Bandits took their first game of the season with a 54-0 win over the Wainwright Commandos. “It’s the results of a good team,” says Head Coach of the Bonnyville Bandits, Mickey Fagnan, “coming off an undefeated season, last year, we were making every attempt to be competitive. We have 48 kids registered and made the trip. The quality of our players are exceptional.”

Fagnan said going into the season he wasn’t sure where the Bandits would fall considering a lot of the Grade 9 players moved up to the Voyageurs. “Usually that leaves a team very flat, non-productive,” this wasn’t the case, though. “It’s pretty exciting to see the energy levels that we have and the numbers are more than we’ve ever had at the Bantam level. We have some excellent kids that are excited about playing football, excellent parents and coaching staff behind us.”

The Renegades have a lot to do with the success of the Bantams, says Fagnan, “all but five come from Peewee.” Fagnan explains the Peewees have helped build the fundamentals in the players and success is growing on all levels because of it. There are also kids on the squad who are new to the game, “we have kids that have never touched a football this year. The key is taking young people and getting them excited about a sport.”

We do not teach mediocrity. We want to be the best we can be; in the field, in the community, in school, everywhere. – Mickey Fagnan

The Bonnyville Amateur Football Association’s (BAFA) values are simple, says Fagnan, “build character and stay classy.” Even with a blowout win, the Bandits know they mustn’t gloat, “we played all our non-starters. Kids that would, under a different leadership, wouldn’t be playing at all, played half the game. We spread out the game time for every one of those players.”

Fagnan takes the head coaching position from Dan Jubinville, who moved up to Voyageurs ball this year. “I’m taking the reins from a coach that was really endowed with a great attitude. Our parents and player reps are second to none. I’ve been with the Bantam association for seven or eight years, this is just the pick up from the tracks that have been laid before me.”

Fagnan’s goal going into the season, considering losing a lot of players who moved up to the Voyageurs, was to be competitive. He’s since re-evaluated, “I believe that we are going to be in contention for the championship. The kids have really elevated their game. We teach in a high-tempo, enthusiastic atmosphere, which makes for good learning. It’s already exceeded my expectations. I have not seen this level of team spirit in a number of years. Our fan support is through the roof, that tells us there’s something happening inside of these kids and their parents.” Fagnan says his ultimate goal with the players is to, “point them in a direction where they can succeed.”

We try to teach character traits; so these young people have integrity, honour, loyalty. -Mickey Fagnan

“We getting ready for the challenge, it’s only game one. The competition is going to get stiffer as we go on.” The Bandits will travel to St. Paul next Saturday.

About Jena Colbourne