It is being called the biggest game in Kamloops Broncos history, and the ball is in the hands of Connor Whitelaw.
Whitelaw will lead the Broncos into their ninth game of the B.C. Football Conference season on Saturday against the Westshore Rebels. The outcome of the game likely will determine whether Kamloops will make the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.
It's a lot to put on a rookie quarterback, but Whitelaw, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound righty, doesn't seem to mind.
"There's always pressure on the starting quarterback, no matter what team or what league," said the South Kam grad. "It comes with the position - you have to learn how to handle it.
"The weight's on your shoulders, you just deal with it."
The Broncos (2-6) are fifth in the six-team BCFC, from which the top four teams will make the postseason. Westshore (6-2) is third and looking to move up to second, where it could possibly play host to a first-round playoff game.
The Okanagan Sun also is 2-6, but holds the final playoff spot based on its two regular-season victories over Kamloops. Okanagan has an easy game Saturday - it will play the Chilliwack Huskers (0-8) - before finishing the season at home against the Langley Rams (6-1-1).
Kamloops will finish in Chilliwack on Oct. 13, but knows how important this game is.
"With the kids, we're just trying to treat it as any other game," said Broncos head coach Duncan Olthuis. "We don't want to put too much pressure on them."
Whitelaw graduated from South Kam in 2011, and red-shirted with the Simon Fraser Clan last season.
He was befallen by bad luck while in Burnaby - first, he fell ill with Lemierre's syndrome, a rare disease that often begins with a sore throat and can move on to attack the lungs and other organs. It got so bad that he ended up in a hospital, where he suffered a broken left collarbone.
"In the (emergency room)," Whitelaw said, "as they were in the process of hooking me up to all the stuff to save my life, they kind of clipped (the collarbone) with a needle and broke it in half"
He recovered and got back into game shape, but didn't make the cut with the Clan this season.
He got his first game action with the Broncos against the Rebels in Victoria on Sept. 16, when he helped lead a second-half comeback that fell short in a 48-41 loss. He was named the offensive player of the week after going 11-for-19 for 220 yards and two touchdowns as he led Kamloops back from a 41-7 deficit to make it close.
He knows he won't be surprising the Rebels on Saturday.
"They know that I can play the position now," Whitelaw said. "They'll be preparing for me, instead of just me coming off the bench. But I also know what to expect, what their defence will do."
The Broncos know that Whitelaw can throw for as many touchdowns as possible and it won't matter unless they find a way to stop Westshore running back Greg Morris.
Morris has been the league's top rusher all season, picking up 1,066 yards on 114 carries (9.4 average) and a league-high 10 rushing touchdowns.
If Morris has a strong day, Kamloops can kiss its playoff hopes goodbye.
"Morris is, I'd say, close to 75 per cent of their offence," Olthuis said. "If you can slow him down, and get them to try to beat you through the air . . . we have very good (defensive backs) on this team, and that will help us out."
EXTRA POINTS: Broncos RB Mike McMaster, who rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown in Kamloops' 29-1 victory over visiting Chilliwack on Sunday, was named the conference's offensive player of the week. . . . Saturday's game, at Hillside Stadium, is scheduled for 7 p.m. . . . The Broncos are hoping to pack the stadium and, with help from NRI Distribution, are offering $5 tickets for everyone, as long as you bring a donation for the Kamloops Food Bank. NRI and the Broncos also will be holding a Punt, Pass and Kick Challenge, with the winner earning a turkey.