Dome Sweet Dome: Lions finish season with a W
The B.C. Lions tallied their league-best 13th win of the 2012 season on Saturday night. Under the bright lights of B.C. Place, the Leos beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 17-6 in a battle of backups. Both teams knew their playoff fate prior to the game, so it was essentially a meaningless game with regards to the standings.
But everyone knows how heated this West Division rivalry can be, and no match-up with these opposing squads is ever taken lightly by the players.
The Lions started QB Travis Lulay, mostly to keep him fresh and give him some solid live-reps before heading into the bye week. Lulay was pulled after just over a quarter, with Mike Reilly relieving him.
Reilly played well during his time at the helm, and was also relieved late in the game, replaced by third-string QB Thomas DeMarco.
The five-foot-eleven import was very accurate in his limited time, going six for seven during the fourth quarter. On the green and white side, the Riders were without starter Darian Durant for Saturday’s regular season finale.
Drew Willy was the starting quarterback, and J.T. O’Sullivan came in as pivot in the second half of the game.
B.C. proved last week in Calgary that they are not a great bad-weather team. What they are however, is nearly unbeatable in the recently renovated B.C. Place. Since the dome re-opened last season the Leos are 14-1 at home, including playoffs.
The Lions’ Den is alive and roaring and will certainly wreak havoc on their opponents in the West Final.
Offensive Game Ball
This is a very hard game ball to give out. Not because there are just too many good performances to choose from, which is often the case. No, it’s because this game, as the score indicates, was a truly defensive battle.
This game was right up there with lowest scoring totals of the season for both sides. Of course both teams were resting significant skill players and subbing in backups as the game wore on, but that’s not to say it wasn’t simply a well played, conservative game.
If any one player stood out, it was the ever-so consistent RB Andrew Harris.
The Canadian standout rushed for 57 yards and a score on just nine carries. This season, Harris finished with the league’s most yards from scrimmage, becoming only the second Canadian ever to do so.
He ended up in third place for rushing yards behind Jon Cornish and Kory Sheets.
This is certainly not Harris’ first game ball, and will most definitely not be his last. Keep a close eye on number 33 in the postseason.
Defensive Game Ball
In this very defensive battle, the Lions flexed their muscles. All the usual suspects came out to shine. And who else shone brightest… LB Adam Bighill. The fearsome linebacker was all over the field, as Lions’ fans have become accustomed to.
Bighill racked up an impressive eight tackles along with a remarkable interception in the contest.
It’s no shock at all that he put up these great numbers if you look at his season totals. Number 44 finished the season with 104 tackles (second highest in the league), nine sacks (good for fourth best in the CFL), and four interceptions.
All this from a player who was supposed to be a backup.
Bighill is certainly a key reason why the B.C. defense was the best in the country.
Special Teams Game Ball
Low scoring games like this one put even more emphasis on kicking. And the Lions’ timeless veteran Paul McCallum came through with a solid outing.
The 42-year old was a perfect three for three on field goals, and still has never missed an extra point in his 20 year CFL career.
The Lions get to sit back and watch the Riders travel to Calgary to take on the Stampeders in next weekend’s playoff action.
That game’s winner will come back to Vancouver for the West Final on November 18th. Roar you Lions roar!