Broncos receivers have been on the mark

The Kamloops Broncos' record book, if such a thing exists, isn't exactly filled with mind-blowing offensive statistics.

But what Derek Yachison and Devin Csincsa have accomplished through six weeks of the B.C. Football Conference season is pretty impressive.

The Broncos (1-4-1) have four players among the league's top-17 in receiving yards, with Yachison fourth at 394 and Csincsa right behind him, with 377. Although the Broncos don't have a record book on their website, those yardage numbers are undoubtedly the highest in a single season for a Kamloops receiver since the team began play in 2007 - and the Broncos still have four games to play.

"When they came in here, we threw them into the fire as rookies," said Broncos head coach Duncan Olthuis. "That goes to show you that it does work sometimes."

Kamloops is scheduled to play host to the Westshore Rebels on Saturday, 7 p.m., at Hillside Stadium. Westshore (1-5) is one spot behind the fifth-place Broncos, who could move into the playoff picture with a victory.

The entire Broncos receivers corps has been excellent this season, with Cory Rollings (196) 16th in the league in yards and quarterback-turned-receiver Jesse Neufeld (188) in 17th. Sean Poeppel has 140 yards, and Caleb Grinberg has caught four passes for 90 yards.

Three players - Csincsa, Yachison and Rollings - have enjoyed 100-yard games, and Poeppel and Neufeld each has caught a touchdown pass.

But the true heart of the Kamloops pass game is in its two Winnipeg receivers - Csincsa, who has caught two touchdown passes, and Yachison, who leads the team with five touchdowns.

Csincsa played high school at Maples Collegiate in Winnipeg, while Yachison went to Murdoch MacKay Collegiate. They didn't know each other until they lined up together in the Manitoba senior bowl in 2011, but they both ended up in Kamloops in the fall of 2011.

Csincsa stayed in Winnipeg in 2012 so he could save some money, but his return has been a big boost for the Broncos and Yachison, who led the Broncos with 299 yards in 2012.

"I love having (Yachison) beside me," Csincsa said. "It takes a lot of pressure off me having someone as good as Derek beside me."

One of the biggest reasons for the improved passing game has to do with comfort. The Broncos' key receivers have been part of the same system long enough that they know what to do - Poeppel is in his fourth season, with Yachison and Neufeld in their third, and Rollings and Csincsa in their second.

"We're starting to see the coverage better because we're a little bit more veteran in the league now," said Yachison, who has 802 career receiving yards. "I guess it's just more trust from the quarterbacks and our offensive co-ordinator (Mike Faisthuber)."

The similarities between Csincsa and Yachison go further than their hometowns. Csincsa, who is 6-foot-0 and 200 pounds, has caught 24 passes - one more than Yachison, who stands 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds.

They're quite close on and off the field, but disagree on whether they enjoy a friendly rivalry.

"I don't look at who's doing better, but more so how we're doing together compared to other guys in the league," Yachison offered. "It's not a competition between us, we just try to help the team as much as we can."

"We battle pretty hard, to be honest," Csinca said.

Of course, these balls aren't just falling out of the sky into the receivers' hands. The Broncos' quarterbacks - Steve Schuweiler and Connor Whitelaw - have been effective through six games, and have put up nearly identical numbers.

Whitelaw has thrown for 759 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions, while Schuweiler has hit for 712 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions.

But, with the Broncos facing their biggest game of the season, both quarterbacks are questionable. Schuweiler is still dealing with an ankle injury that has bothered him all season, while Whitelaw is ill.

"Steve's on the limp and Connor's sick, so we're a little iffy right now," Olthuis said. "We have no clue what's going to happen."

mhunter@kamloopsnews.ca

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