St. Paul Bantam Bengals take Bonnyville Bantam Bandits 17-3
After over a year the Bonnyville Bandits win streak has come to an end, falling short in St. Paul to the Bengals. Head Coach Mickey Fagnan says although he always respects the ref’s calls, there was a number of long plays called back and two touchdowns waved off. Had thing gone another way the Bandits may have seen a different result than the 17-3 loss.
Coach Fagnan has nothing but respect for the rival club and the ref, explaining it’s just part of the game. “We had several touchdowns called back, [the game] was penalty laden. I take full responsibility for not preparing the kids. It’s football IQ and mental mistakes.” Fagnan says it can be really discouraging to have long runs and touchdowns called back, “it was pretty frustrating for the kids, you gas yourself to run that far to have an offside called at the end. I could tell the boys were torqued up because of that.” Fagnan prefers not to dissect the ref’s, “I don’t go there, we get what we get and there’s no point to bringing that to the forefront. It’s not about refs, it’s about executing the game.”
Fagnan expected a rebuilding year going into the season, he lost a number of players who aged up to the Voyageurs. “We didn’t expect to place this year.” The St. Paul club, on the other hand, has been predicted by many to take the league this year, having opened their season with a huge win over another notoriously strong team, the Lloydminster Chargers. “We were right there, until the end. It was 3-3 going at the half and it was only 9-3 at the forth quarter. We were a touchdown away.” In a different world, if you add the two called back touchdowns and the missed runs there could’ve been a completely different outcome. “But that wasn’t the case.”
Fagnan has some solid advice for the kids when they are frustrated in the game, “this game parallels life, so closely. Life isn’t fair, all things are equal and things go sideways for you. The attitude in the end, is what will win the day. You’re going to get another opportunity to play that team, or another team, and you’re going to have to be more disciplined.” Fagnan says it really comes down to coaching, “some would say it’s where you are and who’s blowing the whistle. I don’t go there, if you’re offside, you’re offside.And let’s live to fight another day.”
The Bandits also suffered two key injuries, one player suffered a concussion. Both players were taken off the field and to the hospital. After the final whistle was blown, the entire team went to the hospital to check in on their injured teammates. Fagnan reports it was something special to see the entire squad rally around their comrade. Both players have been released from hospital; however, the player with the concussion will be on the sidelines for quite some time to allow for a proper recovery. Bonnyville Amateur Football Association has strict concussion protocol that every team follows.
If we just keep focusing on one another, we’ll get through it; because we need one another in this life. – Mickey Fagnan Head Coach Bonnyville Bantam Bandits
“We have a big game coming up and we have to look ahead to that. It’s done, it’s over. Those who are mentally strong are able to look at their mistakes and correct them. We have a week and we’re going to work hard to straighten all that out. It’s managing those 48 kids in a way that we bring out the best in everyone.” Fagnan is already looking ahead to the Scott MacDonald Memorial Football Day next Saturday, the 17th.