The Kamloops Broncos scored their first touchdown, held their first lead and won a half for the first time of the B.C. Football Conference season at Hillside Stadium on Saturday night.
Strides - yes, they made a few.
But those same Broncos threw two interceptions for touchdowns, muffed multiple punt returns and gave up more than 300 yards on the ground in a 48-23 loss to the Victoria Rebels (2-0). Kamloops (0-2) is scheduled to play host to the South Surrey Rams (1-1) on Saturday, 7 p.m., at Hillside Stadium.
The Broncos opened the BCFC season with a 71-0 loss to the Vancouver Island Raiders in Nanaimo on Aug. 1. While they showed better in the loss to Victoria, the Broncos still have a long way to go if they want to improve on their 2-8 record of last season.
"We gave (Victoria) five touchdowns," said first-year head coach Rob Ellis, who took over from Stefen Reid in the offseason.
"We gave them two interceptions to our end zone, and we gave them three turnovers on punt returns. Five touchdowns - it's as simple as that."
Kamloops got on the board 28 seconds into the game when linebacker Mitch Day scooped up a fumble on the Victoria one-yard line and lumbered into the end zone.
After holding the Rebels for nearly 10 minutes, the Broncos allowed 42 consecutive points in the final 20 minutes of the first half.
Included in those six touchdowns were three rushing scores from Sam Adu - from five, 82 and seven yards - and a 28-yard passing play between quarterback Yannick Rickli and slotback Tyson Takasaki.
But the touchdowns that really felt like punches to the guts of the Broncos came from Victoria linebacker Wade Buckley, who took back-to-back interception returns to the house in the final four minutes of the half.
Both interceptions came out of the right hand of John Boulton, who replaced Liam Wear late in the second quarter but lasted only four pass attempts before watching the rest of the game from the bench.
On the second interception, Buckley was the only player in the vicinity of the ball.
"That was (Boulton) not making a good read and not doing what he was taught to do in practice," Ellis said. "That's why he didn't play much."
Trailing 42-7 at halftime, the Broncos managed to put together a solid second half. Despite playing into a strong wind in the third quarter, Kamloops limited Victoria to two Quinn VanGylswyk field goals, from 25 and 40 yards.
Victoria conceded a safety early in the fourth quarter, before Wear hit David Boulton for a three-yard touchdown to make the score 48-16. Receiver Adam Sancewicz capped a seven-play, 103-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown run with 26 seconds remaining.
"To tell the truth, we were expecting a bit of an easy time," said Buckley, a 19-year-old Canmore native. "But they put up a good fight. They came out of the gates and got that touchdown on the fumble recovery, and I was a little scared.
"It was getting a little tense - we've never lost to these guys and we didn't want to."
EXTRA POINTS: Announced attendance at the game was 550. . . . Wear ended the game with around 100 yards passing, although official stats weren't available at press time. . . . RB Tyson Tallmun picked up around 50 yards on the ground for Kamloops. . . . Adu, last week's BCFC offensive player of the week, finished with around 150 yards rushing. . . . Elsewhere on Saturday, the Raiders (2-0) hammered the Rams 59-19 in South Surrey, while the host Chilliwack Huskers (1-1) scored a 38-23 victory over the Vancouver Trojans (0-1).