By Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press November 11, 2021.
VANCOUVER – The BC Lions know what’s at stake this week – win and the team’s weak playoff hopes shine, lose and they’ll be officially wiped out.
“I don’t have to be a salesman on this one, I can tell them the truth,” head coach Rick Campbell said of his message to the team. “The truth is if we beat Calgary on Friday night we have the tiebreaker and it comes down to the last week of the season. So it’s not entirely under our control, but we can put ourselves in the best possible position and then win them over. “
Getting a win won’t be easy, however. The Lions (4-8) are on a six-game losing streak as they prepare to host the Calgary Stampeders (6-6).
British Columbia just suffered a frustrating 26-18 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last week and allowed the most points (308) in the West Division this season.
“I’m not going to lie to you – losing is expensive when you’ve lost as much as we have lately. And it takes a little longer to get over it, ”Campbell said. “It took the guys a few days this time to get out of the funk, but they did.” ??
Despite the results, the team bounced back and returned to work this week, Campbell said, and will be ready to face a well-rested Stamps team that just went off a week off.
The two teams have met twice already this season, with British Columbia claiming a 15-9 victory in Calgary in Week 2 and the Stamps responding with a 39-10 victory in Vancouver in Week 11.
Calgary punctuated the victory with a series of big plays, including a 101-yard touchdown return by running back Roc Thomas at the end of the half.
“Those kinds of things are major momentum changes in the game and we have to be the guys who make some of these games like we were earlier in the year where it not only shifts the score but the momentum. and all that, ”Campbell said.
Lions quarterback Michael Reilly had 13 of 25 passes for 145 yards with two interceptions in the loss, and called the game “one of my worst performances.”
But the veteran is confident heading into this week’s rematch, noting that the Lions have already outscored the Stamps once this year.
“Their defense is playing good football and it’s a tough team to beat, but it’s not a team we haven’t beaten yet,” said Reilly.
“We’ve already finished a game on the better side of the scoreboard than them this year, so we’re definitely able to do it again. But if the last time we played them showed us anything, it’s not going to happen on its own. We have to show up and play well.
Calgary will also be motivated, knowing that a win or a tie will secure a place in the playoffs.
It’s a tantalizing prospect after the season 1-4 has started, defensive lineman Derek Wiggan said.
“I’m not going to lie, it looked a little dark,” he said. “Me being here for six, seven years, it is a position that I never held, earlier in the season. But now it’s more customary, we control our destiny. So now it’s just winning. It’s an easy thing. Simply win. It doesn’t have to be pretty. We just have to do it.
CALGARY STAMPEDERS (6-6) AT BC LIONS (4-8)
Friday, BC Place
HARD TICKET: The Lions haven’t done well at home this season, going 1-4 at BC Place. The squad also struggled against the Western teams, with a Week 2 win over Calgary, the only victory in a 1-6 record against opponents in the Division.
LOOKING BACK: British Columbia haven’t missed the playoffs two seasons in a row since 1990.
ROCKIN ‘ROOKIE: Lions linebacker Jordan Williams leads the league in total tackles with 84. His 81 defensive tackles this season set a new record for a Canadian rookie, surpassing the 75 Michael O’Shea recorded with the Tiger-Cats Hamilton in 1993.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 11, 2021.