B.C. Lions look to cement first CFL playoff berth since 2018

B.C. Lions look to cement first CFL playoff berth since 2018
BC Lions quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. throws the ball during first half CFL football action against the Calgary Stampeders in Calgary, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. A season sweep of the Calgary Stampeders would take the B.C. Lions somewhere they haven't been in a while. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

A season sweep of the Calgary Stampeders would take the B.C. Lions somewhere they haven’t been in a while.

B.C. (9-3) hosts Calgary (8-5) on Saturday night to complete a home-and-home series. The Lions are 2-0 versus the Stampeders this year following last week’s 31-29 overtime decision at McMahon Stadium.

B.C. took the first meeting 41-40 on Aug. 13, rallying from a 33-21 fourth-quarter deficit at McMahon Stadium.

A win at B.C. Place Stadium would earn the Lions their first CFL playoff spot since 2018. They could still reach the post-season with a loss so long as both Ottawa and Hamilton lose their games this weekend.

That scenario would secure both Calgary and B.C. playoff berths.

Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. was 25-of-31 passing for 294 yards in his first start for the Lions while rushing three times for 32 yards. He led B.C. to its first win since Canadian starter Nathan Rourke suffered a foot injury in a 28-10 victory over Saskatchewan on Aug. 19.

Adams was aided by a Lions ground game that registered 124 yards on 24 carries (5.1-yard average). James Butler led the way with 83 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.

Calgary starter Jake Maier was solid in defeat, completing 26-of-38 passes for 301 yards and three TDs. Malik Henry finished with four catches for a game-high 107 yards and a TD.

CFL rushing leader Ka’Deem Carey ran for 61 yards on 10 carries, giving him 773 yards overall and a 16-yard lead over Winnipeg’s Brady Oliveira despite having played only 10 regular-season games.

But the contest was marred by an ugly post-game incident. After the outcome had been decided, Calgary linebacker Cameron Judge struck B.C. receiver Lucky Whitehead on the field, knocking Whitehead to the ground and prompting a melee.

Afterwards, a number of Lions players went to the Stampeders dressing room but police and security were already on site. There was verbal sparring between players from both sides but nothing more ensued.

On Tuesday, the CFL suspended Judge for one game. The veteran linebacker said he won’t appeal, meaning Judge won’t play at B.C. Place Stadium.

Judge was a standout performer last week, registering nine tackles, a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery.

B.C. has a 4-2 record this season at B.C. Place Stadium but Calgary counters with a solid 5-2 road mark. However, the Lions are 6-2 within the West Division while the Stampeders are 4-5, all of their losses having come against Winnipeg (three) and the Leos.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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