Week 1 / CFL Keys: BC Lions open the season on road in cow-town

Game 1: 2013 Lid Lifter

The CFL kicks off this weekend as the flagships of the CFL West square off in a classic match-up. After being bested in the Grey Cup semi-final game, the BC Lions will hope to prove RB Andrew Harris right and show the rest of the league that they were the better of the two teams.

How to do that?  Pay attention to the Top Shelf Keys to the Game.

Quick draw

Let’s face it, the city of Calgary has been dealt a major blow and the Stampeders will be looking to enlighten the spirits of an entire by coming out firing on all cylinders.  It is almost vital that the Lions score first or else the adrenaline and emotion of the Stamps may run the Leos out of the endzone.

Guess who’s back

Stamps QB Drew Tate missed most of last season due to injury but this year he is hoping to be one of the top rated passers in the CFL.  The gifted chucker out of Iowa has already wrested his started spot from Kevin Glenn. No easy feat considering Glenn took his team to the Grey Cup last fall.

This game has the potential to be high scoring if he and Lions QB Travis Lulay try and duel it out on the field.

Match-up Nightmare

He’s big, strong, fast and seemingly unable to stop. He might also be the most dominant athlete at his position. Of course I’m talking Calgary’s diesel truck of a receiver Nik Lewis.  Lewis is bigger than most linebackers in the league but he’s’ also fast enough to run with the gazelles in most teams defensive secondary.

The key to slowing his production is through double teaming, potentially exposing a weakness in another spot on the field.

Safety Net

The images of the 2012 West Division Final probably still haunt the minds of most Lions fans. Twice early in the contest the Lions had major communication breakdowns in the coverage scheme leading to the demise of BC’s season.  Getting most of the blame in those lapses was Safety Cauchy Muamba, who has since moved on to Winnipeg.

The position now belongs to JR LaRose, who Muamba beat out to take his position.  Hopefully LaRose is up to the task and as tries to shore up the middle of the defense.

Travis Lulay

The Lions go looking for redemption after bowing down to the Stamps in the West Division Final

Anchors Away

For the first the time in 200 games, veteran Center and anchor of the Offensive Line Angus Reid will not dress for the Lions. Starting in his place will be Matt Norman who played in 6 games last season before heading back to school.  The talented sophomore played extremely well last year but at the Guard position.

Filling for Norman at his old Guard spot is rookie Kirby Fabien who has looked impressive all training camp even though he too has changed his position from Tackle to Guard.

The Tab

The Lions go looking for redemption after bowing down to the Stamps in the West Division Final and getting humiliated two weeks prior to that in the second to last regular season game.  But a quick start, limiting Nik Lewis receptions and harassing Drew Tate will all play major contributing factors if BC wants to start the season right.  But ultimately this game could boil down to efforts of the two fantastic Canadian running backs Harris and Jon Cornish.

Quick Shots

1.)    Not only will Reid miss the contest but so will LB Solomon Elimimian and K Paul McCallum.

2.)    With Elimimian out veteran Anton McKenzie will start at the Middle LB spot.

3.)    Marco Iannuzzi has emerged as the starter over Akeem Foster at the WR position for the Lions.

4.)    Emmanuel Arceneaux returns to the CFL after spending the past few seasons in the NFL. 

Last Call

Calgary versus BC is quickly becoming one of the premier rivalries in the league which is fair to say since both clubs have talent and depth at all positions across the board.

Some off-field banter between the two high octane tail backs has only added fuel to the fire and while the City of Calgary is trying to pick up the pieces, the fans are desperate for something to cheer for and a victory over BC might just be the elixir to a speedy recovery.

Cheers, The Bartender


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About Phil Slater

"The Bartender" - Raised on Vancouver Island where Phil played Football and Rugby in High School. Played O-Line for Bishop's University. A loyal member of the BC Lions nation since age 9. BC bred but travelled sea to sea in Canada trying to get a pulse on fan nation above the 49th. Unofficial voice of bartenders everywhere. Connect with Phil today!
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