It was a night of accomplishments for the BC Lions on Friday night. Travis Lulay got the work he needed to and seemed to emerge no worse for wear. Andrew Harris got the yards from scrimmage lead back from Jon Cornish. They closed out the regular season with a win while their defence added themselves to the club record book for the best 18 game season ever. Here is I saw this exhibition type game, from the stands.
All eyes were on the face of the franchise as he returned to his starting role behind centre. Lulay took a shot early on the shoulder on a tackle from James Patrick and it survived the test. He went 9-14 the rest of the way and his passes looked crisp and accurate for the most part. Lulay played just over a quarter before giving way to Mike Reilly. While his consecutive touchdown streak ended at 26 games, I’m sure he’ll take the successful test of the shoulder over that streak any day. So will his coach, teammates and the fans.
The Lions didn’t escape the mean nothing game unscathed and the state of the offensive line remains the primary concern of this blogger heading into the post season. Dean Valli left the game in the first quarter with what appeared to be a knee injury and if he can’t go its slim pickings at guard. Jesse Newman is having a horrible time out there and has knee issues of his own. The Lions are hoping that Jon Hameister-Ries will be ready for the Western Final, but just watching the man walk the sideline makes you realize that may be wishful thinking.
On the post game show they indicated that the Lions are looking at the logistics of flying Matt Norman in for the Western Final which would be tricky with his school schedule, but that they should be able to bring him in should they reach the Grey Cup. A healthy body on the line would certainly be a welcome addition.
Courtney Taylor and Nick Moore may give way to Geroy Simon and Arland Bruce for the Western Final, but both had strong games in relief again and Ernest Jackson and Shawn Gore were even better. For a team that at the beginning of the year had questions about the future of its receiver depth, the future looks pretty bright, as does the present.
We’re not going to take anything away from the defence, but it should be at least noted that the Riders were resting Darian Durant, Chris Getzlaf and the always dangerous Weston Dressler. Now that we have that out of the way; this Lions defence is the best in team history for a reason.
J.R. LaRose had a nice game at safety, and the defensive line did a great job all night long. At one point I decided to focus on Khalif Mitchell and it’s just amazing how much he gets double teamed and held. Adam Bighill picked up another interception and added another eight tackles to his regular season total.
Regardless of other issues, the fact remains that defence wins championships and the Lions are going to be very tough to beat with this group.
Lumbala had a couple of nice carries tonight and it sure would be nice to see a larger offensive role for him, because I think he can contribute. He’s a big load when he gets going and you would think he could be utilized more in short yardage situations, as well as down near the end zone.
One Last Thanks
On a non-football note, I want to send out one last thank you to our veterans who were saluted at halftime Friday night. The Lions do a fantastic job of this annual salute each year, and no matter how many times I watch it, it reminds me of how fortunate we are to live in such a great country and to enjoy the freedoms that we do because of these men and women.
Off To the Playoffs
I can’t believe the regular season is done and the playoffs are upon us. The Lions have set themselves up to play one game for a chance to defend their title in the 100th Grey Cup. I really hope that the fans in this city and province come out and pack BC Place on November 18th because this team deserves the support.
Until the Western final, take care and roar you Lions roar!