Kurtis Mutschmann scooped the ball up off a Matthew Mahler fumble and scampered to the end zone for the Kamloops Broncos' first points of the season.
“It was dream," says Mutschmann. "I've dreamt that as a kid, the balls there all of a sudden and I'm like, 'Whoa, this is happening.' You pick it and up and then just don't fall.”
On the ensuing kickoff, the Okanagan Sun's Conor Richard took the ball back 96 yards took to the house. That score would put them up 48-6 in a game that finished as a 55-6 romp.
It was that kind of day for the Broncos against the always-tough Kelowna squad, which finished the last B.C. Football Conference season with an 8-1-1 record. Yards were hard to come by, Kamloops special teams were anything but special, and the Broncos offence provided more points to the Sun than their own cause.
"You've got to give credit to Okanagan, they're a good football team," says Broncos head coach Brad Yamaoka. "It's not like we came in here and lost to a team that we should have beat. These guys are good. I don't think we were ready for the speed of the game and I think a lot of our guys were surprised by that."
Okanagan broke a scoreless tie in the first quarter when Tye Kitzman had a pick-six off new Broncos quarterback Reid Vankoughnett. Shortly after that, their offence marched down the field, scoring on a Kelton Kouri touchdown reception.
Then, a few bad snaps by the punt team provided the Sun with short fields, that they eagerly turned into rushing touchdowns by Jacob Loucks, Jesse Amankwaa and Kouri again.
"Special teams really hurt us and I preach to these guys, special teams are a huge part of this game," says Yamaoka. "We are going to be looking at that and that's going to be a huge part of this week."
The score was 38-0 at halftime, and could have been worse as Okanagan was knocking at the door at the end of the first. But the Broncos defence mustered an impressive goal-line stand, stopping the Sun twice at the one-yard line.
"I thought defensively we didn't play too bad; there were some pretty big mistakes that we made, but for the most part, it was pretty good," says Mutschmann.
The Sun let their backups play for most of the second half, but still, the Broncos couldn't sustain any momentum on offence. As for any time, there was a loose ball that defence or special teams could recover, a white jersey was always the one to fall on top of it.
"The big thing I told the kids is, 'We've got to learn from it. If we go out and do the same thing next week, it's going to be a very long season,'" says Yamaoka.
Next week, the Broncos hit the road to play the defending champion Vancouver Island Raiders on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 2:30 p.m.