Broncos off to good startFollowing a brief, two-year reprieve from Class AA football, it hasn’t taken the Lisbon Broncos long to get back in the groove after being bumped back up from the Class A ranks this fall. Three games played, three games won.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
Following a brief, two-year reprieve from Class AA football, it hasn’t taken the Lisbon Broncos long to get back in the groove after being bumped back up from the Class A ranks this fall.
Three games played, three games won.
It goes without saying, but things are looking positive for the always-competitive Broncos.
“We are hoping to not only make the playoffs, but we’re hoping to put ourselves in the position to host a playoff game,” said Lisbon coach Robert Bubach, who’s in his 15th year at the helm.
The Broncos have had their share of postseason success, and the past two seasons competing in Class A Region 1 were no exception. Lisbon produced an overall record of 20-5 during that time frame, while winning the region championship both seasons — sharing that honor with Linton-HMB a year ago — and bringing home the state runner-up trophy in 2007.
The 4th-ranked Broncos kicked off the 2009 season with a 26-6 win over former Class A Region 1 foe LaMoure-Litchville-Marion in Lisbon, and followed that up with a huge 36-28 home victory over the formerly Class AAA Bismarck St. Mary’s Saints.
Last Friday in Grafton, Lisbon opened Class AA East Region play and after a nail-biting 16-8 victory over the Spoilers the Broncos are tied atop the East Region standings with the highly-touted, No. 1-ranked Wahpeton Huskies (3-0, 1-0 East Region).
“I was really pleased with our win over Bismarck St. Mary’s. They were a AAA team last year and we’ve looked at that as a mark,” Bubach said. “We played very, very well that night.
“The Grafton game was a win, but we thought we could have played better.”
The Broncos led 8-0 at the half last week in Grafton on a 5-yard TD run and two-point conversion by two-time, all-state running back Brandon Schell. After the Spoilers tied the game 8-8 in the third, a 39-yard touchdown scamper by Lisbon senior quarterback Adam Coykendall and another two-point conversion by Schell put the Broncos up 16-8.
But the Spoilers made things interesting in the closing stages of the game. Grafton drove the ball all the way to the Broncos’ 5-yard line, where Lisbon stuffed the Spoilers on a fourth and goal with 30 seconds to go in the game.
“It was really pretty exciting at the end of the game,” Bubach said. “But we managed to hold them out of the end zone and we kneeled on the ball.”
Schell is once again the proverbial workhorse for the Broncos. The senior back has already amassed 550 yards rushing and seven touchdowns for Lisbon this season.
The two-time, all-stater racked up 2,964 rushing yards from 2007-08, with 1,410 yards and 21 rushing scores coming a season ago.
“He’s on track to be a 4,000-yard rusher, hopefully,” Bubach said.
Although the team has returned to AA competition this season, there are some things that have changed. Most notably, the former Class AAA teams in the form of St. Mary’s, Wahpeton and Fargo Shanley that have moved down this season.
“There’s a lot that can change in two years. Those are opponents we’ve never played before,” Bubach said. “And Grafton had a totally different look to them. It’s kind of like getting to know your opponent again.”
Lisbon continues conference play at Fargo Oak Grove-Park Christian on Friday night. The Grovers are 1-2 this season with losses to Central Cass (26-0) and Valley City (34-0), but Bubach said he’s taking those losses with a grain of salt.
“That really doesn’t mean anything,” Bubach said. “In years past, Oak Grove has had a good football team. We are not going to be looking past anybody.”
With teams such as Wahpeton and Fargo Shanley (2-1) coming up, that strategy would seem wise. The Broncos play at Shanley on Oct. 9, and face Wahpeton at home a week later.
“We’ve got some tough games ahead of us,” Bubach said. “Hopefully, we can still be winning by the time we face Shanley. Those will be two big games.”
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org