Former Broncos Lineman Makes University Debut on Familiar Turf

by Jamie Shinkewski

Hillside Stadium had a more relaxing feel for the Kamloops Broncos on Wednesday night as the team exchanged their seats on the sidelines for ones in the bleachers for the U Sports exhibition matchup between the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and the University of Alberta Golden Bears.

The lighthearted atmosphere was reflected with some alumni pride shown by Kamloops athletes. Broncos head coach and former UBC Thunderbird Brad Yamaoka arrived sporting his former school colours, and colour commentator Brian   Olthuis and Jim Fornelli, who played for the Golden Bears and Thunderbirds respectively in the 1960s, had a fun little ceremony at half time.

The game had a more serious note for Golden Bears defensive lineman, and Broncos alumnus, Cory Yeast as he made his university debut on familiar turf, swapping a blue and orange #92 uniform for a yellow and green #78.

“It was a great experience coming out playing my first game in (U Sports), it’s always nice to do it on familiar ground having played with the broncos last year. I was just happy to get out here and play,” Yeast said.

For his part, Yeast certainly looked like he belonged on the field against the 2015 Vanier Cup champions. He saw his first action last in the third quarter and saw the majority of the reps as the Golden Bears mounted a valiant comeback effort in the latter stages of the game, nearly erasing a 30-point deficit en route to a 33-30 loss.

“It’s just a lot faster,” Yeast said reflecting on his first taste of Canadian university football. “Nothing can really compare to it. Every level you go up is just faster and faster, the guys get bigger and stronger you just have to get that much better to do well.”

Yeast, who recorded nine tackles, one assisted tackle and one sack with the Broncos in 2016, will pursue a major in chemistry and is in his first of five years of eligibility at the U Sports level. After the game he was greeted with hugs and high fives from a bunch of his former teammates and coaches and he said he felt the support in his first taste of action with the Golden Bears.

“It’s always nice playing in front of your old friends, getting teammates out to watch you play. It was great to get my first university game in front of some good people,” Yeast said.