The Broncos are back
A revamped schedule, veteran returnees and a strong pre-season have Kamloops Broncos general manager Darryl Chow thinking post-season football.
“We’ve got to make the playoffs,” said Chow, who took over GM duties from club president Dino Bernardo in the off-season.
The Broncos are hosting their B.C. Football Conference (BCFC) regular-season opener against the Chilliwack Huskers on Sunday, Aug. 5, at Hillside Stadium.
Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Kamloops is playing the Huskers and the Westshore Rebels of Victoria three times this season, as opposed to twice in the 2011 campaign.
The Broncos will only once meet the Vancouver Island Raiders of Nanaimo and the Langley Rams, with two scheduled meetings against the Okanagan Sun of Kelowna rounding out the 10-game season.
Chow is thrilled the BCFC decided to make the change.
“Teams like Nanaimo have massive budgets compared to ours and they were kicking our butts 70 or 80 to nothing,” he said.
“What’s that doing to football in general and what does that say about the league?”
(Read this story about the state of the Broncos' franchise).
Numbers were down at training camp this year, said Chow, but that might not be a bad thing.
“I know everybody is talking about our lower numbers, but what’s impressing to me is, because we’ve got so many veteran players, how polished it looks this early in the season.
“More kids are getting more reps.”
The Broncos took plenty of positives away from a 15-12 pre-season loss to the Okanagan Sun on Saturday, July 28, in Salmon Arm.
“Offensively, we were way crisper and looking way tighter as a unit compared to last year,” said third-year quarterback Jesse Neufeld.
In two wins over Kamloops last season, the Sun outscored the Broncos 90-20, so a three-point loss — in a glass half full scenario — could be considered a step in the right direction.
If the glass is half empty, it was just a pre-season game and the scoreline is not representative of what will happen when outcome counts.
The Broncos finished 2-8 last season and missed the playoffs for a fifth-consecutive year.
Both of Kamloops’ wins came against Chilliwack, which finished 0-10 for a second-straight year.
Chow knows Kamloops can ill-afford a loss to the Huskers on Sunday.
“We haven’t started the season yet, but you talk about a must-win game . . . this will set the stage,” he said.
“We’d sure love to see a big crowd. Chilliwack is a team we must beat.”