The Valley Huskers know for certain that they won’t go winless in 2013.
But they don’t yet know whether they’ll win a game either, after battling the Kamloops Broncos to a 29-29 tie at Townsend Park last Saturday.
The Huskers are 0-1-1 heading into a road rematch with the Broncos, Saturday night at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops.
The BC Football Conference teams showed there is little to choose between them in the opener. Both the Huskers and Broncos could legitimately say they let the game slip away.
Kamloops led 15-6 early in the second quarter on two field goals, a safety and a 37 yard catch and run by Devin Csincsa.
Chilliwack scored the next 20 points to take a 26-15 lead into the fourth quarter.
Dan Erickson booted field goals from 17 and 25 yards out.
Dylan Boykowich reeled in a 13 yard TD pass from Cody Parray, Hayden Jeffries took an interception back 50 yards for a major and the Huskers looked to be in control.
“I could kind of tell from their demeanor on the bench that they thought we were in control,” said Husker head coach Tyson St. James. “I told them they had to step up to nail down the win, but it’s tough. Our team, both of these teams, are learning how to get a lead and keep it.”
On their first series of the fourth quarter, Kamloops switched QBs, taking out Connor Whitelaw in favour of Steve Schuweiler. The backup led the Broncos on a five play drive that covered 77 yards and ended with a five-yard Jacob Palmarin TD run.
After a big Josh Hayden kick return gave the Huskers great field position, Erickson nailed a 21 yard field goal to give the home side a 29-22 lead.
But Whitelaw checked in for the next Kamloops series, taking just three plays to move the Broncos downfield.
He capped the series with a 35 yard TD pass to Derek Yachison.
The Huskers had chances to win it in the end.
Another Hayden kick return set them up on the Kamloops 51, but the Huskers had to punt after a quick two-and-out.
With 12.9 ticks on the clock, they had the ball on their own 54 yard line, only to see time expire.
In the BCFC, there is no overtime.
“I thought all three phases of the game (offence, defence and special teams) were really improved from week one,” St. James said afterwards. “I was really impressed with our physical play on special teams. That’s definitely a big part of what we’re trying to preach.”
Quarterback Cody Parray struggled in the passing game, going 12 of 27 for 215 yards, one TD and two interceptions.
But he did some nice things with his legs, buying time and scrambling six times for 22 yards.
The Husker ground game generated 113 yards on 21 carries (5.38 average).
Ty Derayos had 40 yards on eight carries and Benedict Muhima had 36 yards on four carries.
Boykowich was the offensive star.
The Chilliwack native hauled in five Parray passes for 104 yards.
Branden Vickers led the defence with five solo tackles and Brody Slagman had a quarterback sack.
The next Valley Husker home game is Aug. 31 versus Victoria’s Westshore Rebels.
Kickoff is 2 p.m.