The Kamloops Broncos might have known they were in trouble Saturday night when the public address announcer welcomed "tonight's opponents - from Victoria - the Rebels."
Uhh, it was the Big Kahuna South Surrey Rams who came storming out of their dressing quarters and laid a 64-13 licking on the home side in a BCFC game played before 498 fans at Hillside Stadium.
The loss left the Broncos, who have been outscored 183-36, with an 0-3 record, while the Rams, who were rocked 59-19 by the visiting Vancouver Island Raiders in Week 2, improved to 2-1.
"We really wanted to come out and get a good tempo going," offered Cam Clark, the first of three South Surrey quarterbacks to see playing time. "Our first two games, we were really slow starters. We had some opportunities but we didn't pounce on them.
"We definitely pounced on them early in this game."
The Broncos opened with great field position at the Rams' 51-yard line thanks to a Darcy MacDonald kickoff return. The hosts then dug into their back of tricks, with receivers Dave Boulton and Jesse Faubert combining on a pass off an option down the left side that got the ball to the Surrey five-yard line. Quarterback Liam Wear followed by hitting Boulton at the one. However, Surrey linebacker Kyle Ouwehand stuffed running back Adrien Se-Ung on the next play.
After taking a timeout and deciding to forsake the field goal, Wear was sacked at the nine and that took care of that.
The Rams took over the ball and Clark took them to the house, starting with a 42-yard pass to Thomas Rafuse. Five running plays later and it was third-and-goal on the one.
As if to say, here's how it's done, Clark handed off to Cory Nitchie and the visitors were on the board, although the convert attempt was blocked.
McDonald, who was a bright spot for the home boys, brought the ensuing kickoff to the Broncos' 44. But the visitors recovered a fumble on the next play, Clark hit Xavier Johnson for 44 yards to the one and Nitchie took it in again. Curtis Glawson's convert established a 13-0 lead.
On the next series, a blocked punt set up Surrey at the Kamloops 24 but the Rams could only manage a Glawson field goal.
Holding and unnecessary roughing penalties on the return pinned the Broncos at their nine and, after the offence stalled, punter Gabe Ord conceded a safety, giving the Rams an 18-0 lead after one quarter.
Despite the ugly early deficit, the Broncos showed some spunk and scored the next 10 points, recording a touchdown off a blocked punt, an Ord convert and a 15-yard Ord field goal.
However, Surrey's Nick Downey, a receiver, broke the Broncos' hearts when he fielded the resultant kickoff and ran it back 100 yards for the score. Another Glawson convert and the Rams were ahead 25-10.
"When Nick Downey returned that kick, I think that was the turning point in the game," Clark said. "They were kind of coming back. They got a blocked punt for a TD and (Downey's return) really shifted the momentum back to us."
So much so that by the half the visitors had added a Kyle Willis touchdown on a four-yard run - it was set up by a 55-yard pass from Clark to Zack Denton - and a Glawson field goal and held a 35-13 lead.
Football teams that surrender big plays invariably talk about mental mistakes. For the third straight game, that was a problem for the Broncos.
"We have to get our mentals down and fix those problems and hopefully we can get over them," said Kamloops defensive end Alex Adams, who was all over the field.
Adams admitted to some frustration with being 0-3 but said it's imperative that the team stay positive.
"It's frustrating but at the same time you have to keep your head up high and keep positive," the product of Valleyview Secondary said. "It's not going to help getting frustrated if the team gets down on itself. We have to keep positive in these situations."
Yes, Adams was able to find some positives in his club's play.
"Our (defensive backs) - aside from a few big plays on (the Rams') part with deep balls - played excellently," he said. "We made adjustments on the front seven to shut down the run. Our quarterback probably had well over 200 yards passing. The receivers made big plays."
Statistics weren't available but with the Broncos eschewing the run, Wear and his receivers played a lot of run and gun.
"We have to keep our heads up high. We can't get down on each other," Adams said.
The visitors outscored their hosts 29-0 in the second half, getting three field goals, four converts and two singles from Glawson, who finished with 20 points, and touchdowns from Downey on a 44-yard pass from Clark, Justene Edwards on a 22-yard toss from Marc Paquette and Ouwehand on a blocked punt.
The Broncos, halfway through a four-game homestand, meet the Okanagan Sun at Hillside Stadium on Saturday, 7 p.m. The Sun (2-1) whipped the visiting Vancouver Trojans 49-3 on Saturday.
The Rams, meanwhile, will be at home to Victoria, the class of the junior football circuit to this point.
"We're pretty happy getting some momentum going into a game wth a tough opponent like Victoria," Clark said.