The Life Of Reilly
C’mon and roar you Lions roar
Thats what a Lions roar is for
From the mountains to the sea
You are the pride of all BC
So buckle down and play the game You’ll lead us on to football fame
We love the L
The I The O, N, S
C’mon and roar you Lions
Roar you Lions Roar you Lions roar
RAH RAH RAH!
It might only be a six hour drive to Mike Reilly’s hometown of Kennewick, Washington, but chances are not many people in Vancouver know exactly where the third year BC Lions QB hails from.
However, following Saturday’s 39-19 first place clinching victory over the Edmonton Eskimos, there may be a few more eyes following the 27 year old back up quarterback.
Following a redshirt season at Washington State, Reilly was presented the opportunity to start for the lesser known NCAA Div II, Central Washington Wildcats.
Receiving honors as the Great Northwest Atlantic Conference Offensive Player Of The Year in his senior season, Reilly finished his collegiate career with 12, 448 passing yards and 118 touchdowns, including at least one end zone completion in each of his games played.
Making the rounds as an NFL free agent in 2009, Reilly made four stops in his attempt to crack a pro lineup, never amounting to more than a preseason appearance.
Pittsburgh, Green Bay, St. Louis and Seattle all gave Reilly the “opportunity”, however nothing much more than a warm up game and the chance to patrol the sidelines with a clipboard came from it.
In 2010, Reilly headed north to BC, again playing the role of sideline QB, sitting behind the likes of Casey Printers, Jarious Jackson and Travis Lulay, as the Lions were once again in the midst of quarterback drama.
Although he was limited to his all to familiar role in 2011, Reilly had moved up the depth chart to third string and was honored with a Grey Cup ring.
With Jackson moving east to Toronto, Reilly entered the 2012 season as Lulay’s backup.
Enter the legend in training
It may have taken the better part of two years for Reilly to see the field in a meaningful pro football game, but his patience was finally rewarded this past Saturday as he piloted the Lions to a crowd pleasing 39-19 victory over the Eskimos.
For Reilly, not only did he get to finally see his name in an official box score, but more importantly, it was a game that had some significance, as with the “W”, the Lions clinched first place in the Western Conference and the all important first round bye in the Grey Cup playoffs.
Although he didn’t get off to the best of starts, which is to be expected from someone who is basically used only for short yardage plays, throwing an early interception, which in turn caused many Lions fans to scream, throw their hands up and bury their heads, he quickly refocused and started to carve out a game worthy of a starting quarterback.
Finishing 19-28 with 268 yards in the air and 43 yards on the ground, Reilly found Courtney Taylor and Nick Moore in the end zone for six points apiece.
With first place locked up and the right to host the Western Division Championship game, the Lions bench boss quickly nodded towards Reilly as his starting quarterback this weekend against the Calgary Stampeders.
Given the opportunity to rest Lulay’s shoulder, coach Mike Benevides knows that the extra week off for Lulay and more meaningful minutes for Reilly can only benefit the club in their quest to hoist the 100th Grey Cup trophy.
For BC Lions fans, players, coaches and front office, the confidence and security that they now have, knowing that both of their quarterbacks can lead them to a must win victory will go a long way in their goal for a seventh championship.
For the media, it may only mean one thing come next season, two words that haven’t been uttered in a few years….quarterback controversy!
MIKE REILLY PROFILE:
Birthdate: January 25, 1985
Birthplace: Kennewick, Washington
Drafted: Signed as a free agent with the Lions in 2010
2012 STAT LINE:
16 Games, 24 completions, 36 attempts, 320 Passing Yards, 2 Touchdowns, 2 Interceptions, 80 Rushing Yards, 2 Touchdowns.