Lions 25, Stampeders 15: Scorching begin, stifling defence, and loads of Calgary miscues

The Lions win their season opener on the street in Calgary, return to B.C. prepared for a giant crowd at B.C. Place

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It was the proper begin.

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The center wanted some work, and the tip wasn’t nice both, however the B.C. Lions’ scorching begin to Thursday night time’s CFL curtain-raiser led to a 25-15 victory in entrance of a surprisingly sparse crowd at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.

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Vernon Adams Jr. hit Dominique Rhymes for 2 touchdowns within the first quarter, going an ideal 9-of-9 on his first drive, placing B.C. forward from the start.

“Beginning quick was massive,” stated head coach Rick Campbell. “Clearly it’s a 60-minute sport, however enjoying Calgary right here is hard. In the event that they get momentum early, you combat an uphill battle. It was good to get forward on the scoreboard and Vernon and our offence was a giant a part of that.”

The Lions outgained the Stamps 403-243, harassing QB Jake Maier into a tricky night time — simply 19-of-35 for 160 yards, one landing and one interception. Rene Parades missed his first two area purpose makes an attempt for Calgary, as they fell behind 13-0.

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B.C. Lions wide receiver Dominique Rhymes, left, celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Vernon Adams during first half CFL football action against the Calgary Stampeders in Calgary, Thursday, June 8, 2023.
B.C. Lions vast receiver Dominique Rhymes, left, celebrates his landing with quarterback Vernon Adams throughout first half CFL soccer motion towards the Calgary Stampeders in Calgary, Thursday, June 8, 2023. Photograph by Jeff McIntosh /The Canadian Press


You couldn’t ask Adams to be good all the sport, however you couldn’t ask for a greater begin to his tenure as a starter, both.

Adams was 27-of-35 for 270 yards, two passing touchdowns, together with one dashing landing coming as a part of his 35 yards on the bottom.

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His lone blemish was a second-quarter interception on second and lengthy, when Cam Choose picked him off and took it again to the B.C. 14. However the Leos held, with Calgary gaining -1 yard from there, and settled for a area purpose from Rene Parades.

He had loads of assist from Mr. Headtop, who was focused 13 instances and completed the sport with eight receptions for a game-high 100 yards. He was Adams’ pressure-relief valve, choosing up key first downs all through the sport.

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The Lions noticed first-hand what Justin McGinnis might do when the Canadian receiver pressured them for 111 yards on six catches final 12 months with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

It performed a giant position in his free-agency acquisition in February, however didn’t assure him a spot on the crew. His coaching camp efficiency, together with a two-TD sport in preseason towards the Stamps, did.

He began Thursday’s sport and made two catches for 17 yards, making a small affect on the field rating. However his catch within the fourth quarter is a type of pivotal moments that had an enormous affect.

Calgary had simply hit a area purpose to tug inside a landing with 2:45 left, and had all of the momentum. The Lions had been going through a second-and-eight when Adams dropped again, fired on the sidelines to McInnis, who used all of his 6-5 body to stand up above defensive again Branden Dozier and pull in a spectacular catch. Some would even say Bryan Burnham-esque.

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It gave the Lions a key first down, and on the very subsequent play, Mizzel busted an 18-yard run to take it to Calgary’s 37 and arrange Sean Whyte’s game-clinching area purpose.

“What a catch,” stated Campbell. “Robust fingers. Large play within the sport for us.”

B.C. Lions wide receiver Jevon Cottoy, centre, leaps over Calgary Stampeders defensive back Branden Dozier during first half CFL football action in Calgary, Thursday, June 8, 2023.
B.C. Lions vast receiver Jevon Cottoy, centre, leaps over Calgary Stampeders defensive again Branden Dozier throughout first half CFL soccer motion in Calgary, Thursday, June 8, 2023. Photograph by Jeff McIntosh /The Canadian Press


The questions shouldn’t have been how massive Taquan Mizzel was. The query ought to have been how massive had been his performs going to be.

The Lions’ beginning tailback had an electrical CFL debut, dashing for 81 yards on 12 carries in his first motion north of the border. He was alleged to be in B.C. final 12 months, however suffered a ruptured appendix simply earlier than camp, and when he recovered, passport points delayed his arrival lengthy sufficient that the Lions simply put him on the suspended checklist and introduced him again in 2023.

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He held up in move safety — the largest query mark towards the 5-foot-10, 185 pounder — and averaged 6.8 yards per carry, together with three runs over 10 yards. His largest carry, in size and significance, was the 18-yard achieve late within the sport.

“That’s what we preferred about him is he’s obtained a very good burst. So if there’s any crease, it’s not going to be a 4 or 5 yard achieve. Clearly he had the large run late within the sport to get a primary down, so we hope that he can proceed to develop and get higher. That was his first ever CFL sport. So, we’ll maintain working with him and good on him for stepping up and making performs for us.”

Calgary Stampeders Ka'Deem Carey battles the B.C. Lions defence in first half CFL action at McMahon stadium in Calgary on Thursday, June 8, 2023.
Calgary Stampeders Ka’Deem Carey battles the B.C. Lions defence in first half CFL motion at McMahon stadium in Calgary on Thursday, June 8, 2023. Photograph by Darren Makowichuk /Postmedia


The Lions had only one sack for the primary 56 minutes of the sport — Mathieu Betts’ second-quarter deal with on Maier — however had been within the face of the Calgary QB all night time.

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Their strain by no means let him get settled and lean into throws, like a second-quarter toss to Malik Henry that may have been a TD had he hadn’t been tapped on his helmet.

Bo Lokombo introduced Maier down on a late fourth quarter second down for the Leos’ different sack, which held the Stamps to a area purpose.

“We positively obtained some hits on him and that was a giant a part of it,” stated Campbell. “Apart from one drive, I believe we by no means actually obtained into a very good rhythm. In order that’s a credit score to the protection and likewise credit score to some strain up entrance.”

And after a tough first sequence, the run defence shored up, with Ka’Deem Carey — final 12 months’s dashing champ — held in examine with simply 42 yards.

Lions vs. Stampeders, Terry Williams
Calgary Stampeders Shaquille St-Lot battles B.C. Lions Terry Williams in first half CFL motion at McMahon stadium in Calgary on Thursday, June 8, 2023. Photograph by Darren Makowichuk /Postmedia


The Lions had been with out receiver Keon Hatcher, was positioned on the six-game injured checklist with the foot harm that saved him out of the whole thing of coaching camp.

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Hatcher had issues together with his left foot in school, together with surgical procedure in 2016, however the excellent news is it’s his proper foot that’s conserving him out of motion.

Calgary was additionally misting receiver Jalen Philpot, who had a catastrophic hamstring harm in coaching camp and is out indefinitely after surgical procedure.


First downs 27 16

Yards dashing 135 95

Yards passing 288 166

Complete offence 423 261

Workforce losses 2 11

Web offence 421 250

Passes made-tried 27-35 20-36

Complete return yards 88 154

Interceptions-yards by 1-13 1-35

Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0

Sacks by 3 0

Punts-average 7-47.7 6-52.5

Penalties-yards 7-76 6-55

Time of possession 33:50 26:10

Web offence is yards passing, plus yards dashing, minus crew losses similar to yards misplaced on damaged performs.

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Speeding — BC: Mizzell 12-81, V.Adams Jr. 10-35, Whitehead 1-12, D.Davis 1-8, LaFrance 1-(minus 1); Cgy: Carey 7-39, Logan 3-34, Maier 2-11, Begelton 1-7.

Receiving — BC: Rhymes 8-118, Hollins 6-85, Cottoy 3-25, McInnis 2-17, Whitehead 2-16, Mizzell 3-12, T.Williams 2-11, LaFrance 1-4; Cgy: Odoms-Dukes 7-75, Begelton 6-42, Henry 3-28, Hakunavanhu 1-11, Barnes 3-10.

Passing — BC: V.Adams Jr. 27-35, 288 yards, 2 TDs, 1 int; Cgy: Maier 20-36-166-1-1.

— with a file from Canadian Press

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