Bandits Provincial Hopes Dashed in Tragic Loss to Grande Prairie

Titus Fagnan runs the ball Friday against Grande Prairie. Photo courtesy of Game Ready Photography.

It was a devastating end to the season, and it all unraveled in the final two minutes.

The Bonnyville Bandits knew that the Grande Prairie Broncos were going to be their toughest – and first – test of the season. They seemed poised to advance to the Provincial final ahead by 11 points with just two minutes left in the game.

But Grande Prairie stormed back with a late touchdown to make it a 21-19 game.

They forced a three-and-out by getting a crucial stop on third down and got the ball back with 21 seconds left, and threw a bomb deep down field that connected. Then, deep in the Bandits endzone, they connected for the game-winning touchdown with one second remaining on the clock.

Just like that the Bandits fortunes had dramatically changed.

“Like everyone thought…How can’t we manage 40 seconds? How can’t we manage 40 seconds, but as it turned out, like life, stuff happens. It wasn’t a meltdown. It was a very good team with a tremendous quarterback and a tremendous arm, and our coverage just wasn’t there.

“I know a lot of the kids are going to beat themselves up, and a lot of coaches are beating themselves up, but that’s the way it goes. You gotta play right down to the last second, and who wouldn’t have thought that we couldn’t manage 40 seconds. But we didn’t and…what are you going to do?”

Post game comments with 🏈Head Coach Mickey Fagnan🏈 after the devastating loss in the North Final to the Grand Prairie Broncos. Thanks to Rockslide Gravel Ltd , Bonnyville Dodge and Fountain Tire Bonnyville for keeping you connected tonight

Posted by Lakeland Connect on Friday, November 9, 2018

The loss will be the only one on the Bandits record this year, but that will not make this one hurt any less.

“I don’t know if you can ease the pain. It’s difficult when you’re 14 or 15, you’ve bought into the program, you’ve played the game, you’ve done the reps, you’re successful. This was their first battle. And when it looked like we had it in the bag, we didn’t. Every second, every rep counts, and the last two counted bigtime.

“The experience with the kids and the coaching can’t be compared. It’s really satisfying. It can’t be compared. When you young men buy into something…we had energy here, right until the last 20 seconds.

“It’s okay to hurt. You invested everything you had in this game, and the whole program. It’s a stinger and you can’t wipe that away easy, and I don’t intend to,” said Fagnan.

The Bandits will have to decide if they want to play against a higher-tiered team like Leduc or Sherwood Park in Edmonton two weekends from now, as that offer was extended just over a week ago.

Last min of the game. Bandits

Posted by Lakeland Connect on Friday, November 9, 2018