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Lions Win Home Opener – 50 Cent Concert

Photo Credit BC Lions

Opening weekend for the BC Lions attracted a record number of 53,788 who made the trek to BC Place to be entertained by not only the Lions but also for the pre-game concert catching the 50 Cent concert which was well worth the price of admission.

t went down as the club’s largest home opener crowd in history, shattering the mark of 43,305 set way back in 1984. Now for some game takes:

Hitting the turf for the home opener puts additional pressure on not only the players but also the coaching staff who put together a group of talented players searching for not only a win, but also have their sights set on the 2024 Grey Cup.

The weeklong hype and subsequent sellout crowd made it a playoff- like atmosphere. So perhaps it’s fitting that the 1-1-0 BC Lions had to grind it out for 60 minutes en route to a 26-17 win over the 1-1-0 Calgary Stampeders on Saturday night at a packed Save-On-Foods Field at BC Place.

Game report thanks to the BC Lions:

Vernon Adams Jr.’s one-yard touchdown plunge with 10:32 remaining capped a seven-play, 108-yard scoring drive and gave them the lead for good 

Three Words: Balance, Balance, Balance

Like last week in Toronto, Adams and the offence came slow out of the gate as they failed to register a first down until their third series of the game. Calgary led the contest 7-0 after 15 minutes before the Lions got rolling with a touchdown to Justin McInnis. 

The home side then took a lead before halftime when Adams connected with Alexander Hollins; a nice little redemption after ‘Batman’ had dropped a pass earlier that landed right in the bucket on a beautiful throw. Redemption is always key.

“I’m coming right back to you,” Adams said of his message after the drops. “That’s what I tell them every time. 

I’m coming back to you, regardless. These are my guys, man. 

They make plays. Nine times out of ten, they’re going to make it. I tell them it’s not a 50/50 ball, it’s a 90/10 ball. Go get it, make me look good so we can be good on the stat sheet.”

The fourth quarter ultimately was the difference in this one as the long drive which led to the eventual winning score was highlighted by a highlight reel completion to Ayden Eberhardt which set them up deep inside Calgary territory. Adams Jr. finished his night 17/29 for 277 yards and the three majors, two through the air and his winning score on the ground.

The defensive turning point came with 3:20 remaining when Josh Woods smartly batted a fumbled ball out of bounds after it was knocked loose by defensive back Ronald Kent Jr. Jake Maier and the 

Stamps’ offense was driving and poised to take the lead before the crucial takeaway that was recovered on the Lions’ 28 yard line.

“Coach Rick, he does a really good job of coaching up when Americans are coming into the league for the first time,” said Woods on his big play late.

“Every team meeting there is a CFL rule coaching moment. That’s one of those I always remembered when I came up here, all you gotta do is hit the ball out. I didn’t want to just scramble and dogpile for it: just hit it out and it’s our ball, you know? I’m so happy to make that play and happy it came in a game.”

His running mate with the linebackers, Ben Hladik, also had himself a solid night, setting the tone with a first-half interception to snuff out one Stampeder drive and once again led the way with ten defensive tackles.  The defence also sacked Maier on four occasions. 

It was the type of defensive effort that the doctor ordered after they struggled in some of the usual facets in Toronto. You have to think the home crowd played a solid role.

Rick Campbell mentioned to the media about the Lions opening night “It’s big. One, it’s huge for the BC Lions, this day. It’s not easy to get 53,000 or whatever into a stadium. I’m super proud of the whole business side and the ticket guys in marketing and all that stuff.” 

He continued “They really bust their butts to try to get people out here and so it’s cool to see that that happened and I think it’s good for the CFL too. Anyone across this league that works in this league is going to be happy that we had that crowd today.”

Key Numbers

0- the number of quarterback sacks allowed by the Lions’ offensive line, six fewer than in the loss in Toronto.

You know they heard the noise all week and slotting Chris Schleuger in at left guard appears to have paid dividends.

61- the run defence kept Calgary’s attack in check with only 61 yards given up on the ground.

3/0– that would be your turnover ratio in the Lions’ favour. Ryan Phillips’ defence had the interception, the fumble recovery and a turnover on downs.

97 and 91- the respective receiving yard totals for Hollins and McInnis who have established themselves as the clear offensive leaders for Big Play through two games.

Next Up

The Lions battle the 0-2 Winnipeg Blue Bombers next Friday night in Manitoba. Kickoff at Princess Auto Stadium is 5:30 pm PT.


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