The Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs could not have asked for a better start on Saturday.
They certainly wished for a different ending.
The Elecs (0-4) saw their hot start fade away in an eventual 28-19 loss to the undefeated Central Cyclones in Moose Jaw.
Estevan dominated most of the first quarter, but as the game progressed, the Cyclones (3-0) played to their potential and took control.
Still, Elecs head coach Mark Schott said the early success was a confidence boost for a winless club playing in a very compressed schedule.
"That was our first lead all season. It was nice to have the lead and it definitely gave the guys a lot of confidence," he said.
"Our offence really moved the ball well, starting right with the opening drive. We marched down inside their five and unfortunately we weren't able to punch it in, but we had a positive drive. I think that opening drive gave our offence a lot of confidence, and then our defence came out and got a two-and-out."
From there, Elecs quarterback Kolby Fleury threw two touchdown passes in the first quarter, a 21-yard completion to Tyler Thiessen and a 36-yard bomb to Evan Tarnes.
The Cyclones did get on the board before halftime, as quarterback Bren Forbes threw a 26-yard touchdown to Parker Chow, narrowing the Elecs' lead to 14-7 at half.
Turnovers were a big part of the Elecs' downfall.
"There was a fumble on a punt where they recovered, and then a kickoff where they also recovered a fumble, and a couple of interceptions. We took really good care of the ball in the first half, and in the second half the turnovers hurt us," Schott said.
Forbes gave Central a one-point lead on a short plunge across the plane, and the Cyclones also capitalized on the two fumbles, with Chow reeling in touchdown passes of 34 and 40 yards to put the home side ahead 28-13.
The Elecs would add another major on a 27-yard connection between Fleury and Tarnes, but that was as close as they would come.
Schott said he was happy with Fleury's game, which included three majors through the air.
"Kolby Fleury and our receivers have been on the money all season. They continued to move the ball really well. It was great to see. The first play of the game was a 50- or 55-yard pass to Austin Garchinsky. I think we kind of caught Central sleeping there."
Schott said the Elecs' coaching staff wasn't sure how the team would respond to playing three games in 10 days, especially with mounting injuries, but that turned out not to be an issue.
"We told the guys, 'We're in a situation where there is no pressure on us, the pressure is all on Central.' We came out and played loose, we played focused."
Earlier in the week, the Elecs were defeated 36-14 by the Swift Current Colts on Tuesday at ECS.
The Elecs beat Swift Current three times last season, including a playoff win, but the Colts took a 14-7 lead to halftime and didn't look back.
"You never want to use injuries as an excuse, but in the span of six or seven minutes (in the third quarter) we had three of our four starting receivers go down with injuries and not return to the game. For a team that relies on the aerial attack, that hurt us," said Schott.
One highlight for the Elecs was a spectacular 90-yard kick return to the end zone by Cole MacCuish in the second quarter. That play came after Swift Current's second touchdown.
The Elecs have several players on the injury list at the moment and Schott said the tight schedule in the Moose Jaw High School Football League isn't helping matters. ECS has played all four of their games in just 15 days.
"Guys don't get a chance to recover when you're playing a game every four days. Football's a physical game and there needs to be time between games to allow players to recover."
The Elecs will face the Vanier Vikings at home on Saturday. After dominating the league last season, the Vikings (1-3) are fielding a young squad and are in sixth place, ahead of only ECS.
Central and Yorkton share first place at 3-0, followed by A.E. Peacock (2-1), Swift Current (2-1) and Weyburn (1-2).