Since they joined the B.C. Football Conference in 2007, the Kamloops Broncos have shot themselves in the foot by making too many errors time and again.
There's no room for error now.
The Broncos, losers of their last six, have three games remaining in the BCFC regular season. If the playoffs are to be more than a dream, Kamloops likely will have to win all three, starting with Sunday's contest against the visiting Chilliwack Huskers.
"We've got to win. That's all," said Broncos receiver Carter Bilawchuk. "We've got to worry about Chilliwack this weekend, and then go from there."
It's actually a little trickier than that, but, as far as the Broncos are concerned, those are the most important things.
At 1-6, Kamloops is in fifth in a conference that will send the top four teams to the playoffs. The Okanagan Sun, which dropped Kamloops 42-18 in Kelowna on Saturday, is 2-5 and holds the final playoff spot and also a tiebreaker with the Broncos, by virtue of winning the season series.
In order for the Broncos to make the playoffs, two things will have to happen:
1. Kamloops wins all three of its remaining games - first up is Chilliwack on Sunday, followed by a game with the visiting Westshore Rebels on Oct. 6 and the regular-season finale in Chilliwack on Oct. 13.
2. Okanagan wins no more than one of its remaining games - it is scheduled to play the Vancouver Island Raiders in Nanaimo on Saturday, the host Huskers on Oct. 6 and the visiting Langley Rams on Oct. 13.
"It's possible, but it's still a very uphill battle for us," said Broncos head coach Duncan Olthuis.
Okanagan definitely has the tougher schedule, with the Raiders (6-0-1) and Rams (5-1-1) considered the toughest teams in the league. The Sun also will take on the Huskers, who have been outscored 36-397 through seven games.
But the Broncos can't control what happens with Okanagan, so don't really want to think about it.
"We need some wins coming up in the next three weeks," said Broncos offensive lineman Dan Hodges. "There's some pressure on us, because if we lose one, we're out.
"We have to come up big and hope things fall into place for us."
The problem with the Broncos, however, is that they continue to make devastating mistakes at crucial times. It has happened since the Broncos joined the BCFC, and continues to happen to this day.
It happened on Saturday, when the Sun turned a 15-5 halftime lead into a blowout with 27 unanswered points in the third quarter.
"Our first half was pretty good, then we had a couple of mistakes and our team just got deflated," Olthuis said. "It's just simple mistakes - in (both) the years I've been head coach here, it's always the simple mistakes we have to clean up."
Based on Chilliwack's struggles, it would be fair to assume that the Broncos' most important remaining game is the Westshore game. The Rebels have won both meetings with the Broncos, 34-21 on Aug. 21, and 48-41 on Sept. 16.
But Olthuis maintains the Broncos' minds are on this weekend's game with the Huskers. Kamloops won the previous meeting between the teams, 64-10 at Hillside on Aug. 5.
"The Westshore game is key, but you can't look past anybody in this league," he said. "Chilliwack . . . is going to be dangerous and they're going to be ready to go."
EXTRA POINTS: Sunday's game is scheduled for 4 p.m., at Hillside Stadium. . . . QB Connor Whitelaw will start for the Broncos this week. He was the offensive player of the week for Sept. 10-16, but threw for four interceptions in Saturday's loss. . . . Sunday's home game will be the Broncos' first since Aug. 25, when they lost 59-17 to the Raiders.