Lions sink Argos
The B.C. Lions began this 2013 regular season with a disappointing loss in Calgary in a game where the Lions’ defense didn’t bother to show up. Making some much needed adjustments heading into this game, the Leos hosted the reigning champion Toronto Argonauts and proved that they mean business this year.
After Calgary’s Jon Cornish trampled the B.C. defense a week ago, the focus was definitely stopping the run and Toronto’s Chad Kackert. But, when facing QB Ricky Ray, you always have to be on your toes to defend the pass. The Lions did both, stopping the run and slowing Ricky Ray down significantly. And although B.C. didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard, they were consistent in their offensive possessions and managed the game perfectly.
This was a big game for both teams, especially for the Lions, as it was their home opener and their first crack at the defending champs.
Both these teams are owned by David Braley, and coincidentally are the past two Grey Cup Champions, both winning the title on respective home soil. Don’t be surprised if Braley adds a few more rings to his collection before this decade is over. Here are this week’s game balls for the outstanding offensive, defensive and special teams Lions players.
Offensive game ball – Andrew Harris
As I walked to the stadium on Thursday with my brother, we agreed upon the fact that if Andrew Harris got 20-25 touches the Lions would win the game. Against the Stamps in the season opener Harris only got the ball eight times and B.C. got clobbered. This week, the Lions came to their senses and gave their star running back the ball 21 times resulting in 152 total yards and a rushing touchdown.
I was happy that my prediction was accurate, but more importantly that we won the game. Harris was very charged up for week one’s game, and after the disappointing outcome you could see his frustration added to the fire he always has lit under himself.
He ran the ball with reckless abandon against a very solid Argonauts defense. And he was his usual dynamic self catching balls out of the backfield for solid gains and throwing key blocks to keep QB Travis Lulay off his rear end.
Harris gets his first, and certainly not last, game ball of 2013.
Defensive game ball – Solomon Elimimian
After a brilliant start to his CFL career with the Lions, Solomon Elimimian took his talents south to the NFL. After brief stints on practice squads, Elimimian returned to B.C. to find his job taken over by Adam Bighill. In Elimimian’s absence, a star was born in Bighill, but that surely didn’t mean there wasn’t room for number 56 to return to the squad.
Last year was a time of transition and feeling things back out, which led to low production from Solomon. But this season he and Bighill have both been squeezed into the new look defense, and it’s a scary combination at linebacker.
He looked like his old hardhitting self against the Argos, racking up nine tackles and completely stuffing their running game.
Toronto managed just 34 yards on the ground against B.C. thanks greatly to guys like Elimimian and the other linebackers. But let’s not forget to tip our hats to the Lions’ DBs as well, who didn’t allow a single Ricky Ray passing touchdown (and if you’re not familiar with CFL football, that is like holding LeBron James to eight points and zero rebounds).
Special Teams game ball – Hugh O’Neill
I know it’s not exactly the most exciting thing in the world to name a kicker as the special teams player of the game, but let’s be honest, the B.C. return game was just ugly on Thursday night. And to give credit where it’s due, Hugh O’Neill is filling in just fine for ageless wonder Paul McCallum.
The Canadian kicker went three-for-four on field goal attempts and averaged a very decent 42.2 yards per punt in B.C.’s 24-16 victory. As much as I hope O’Neill has a great season with the Lions, I also hope our kick returners can get something going next game and step up to earn a game ball.
Well all in all it was a successful game versus the Argos. Tune in on Saturday to see how the Leos fare against former QB Mike Reilly and those pesky Eskimos.