HISTORY >> Year by Year >> 1980-89 | B.C. Lions
HISTORY >> Year by Year >> 1980-89

1980

The 1980 season was a disappointing one for the Lions as the club missed the playoffs by a single point behind Calgary who took two of three contests. BC won back-to-back games only once in 1980 and went 3-6 against the strength of the West. Harry Holt had a fine season to achieve All-Star status alongside fixture at C Al Wilson and K Lui Passaglia. Young LB Kevin Konar was drafted from UBC and became in immediate contributorr along Glen Jackson and Ole Bakken. QB Roy Dewalt was signed to replace Jerry Tagge and split duties with holdover Joe Paopao, while the receiving corps saw the addition of John Pankratz who would play the first of his eight seasons with the team. Al Charuk was once again BC’s leading receiver while Leon Bright continued to dazzle with another pair of long kick return tds as he led the WFC in punt return yardage.

WESTERN CONFERENCE   EASTERN CONFERENCE
  W L T PF PA Pts     W L T PF PA Pts
EDM 13 3 0 505 281 26   HAM 8 7 1 332 377 17
WIN 10 6 0 394 387 20   MTL 8 8 0 356 375 16
CAL 9 7 0 407 355 18   OTT 7 9 0 353 393 14
BC 8 7 1 381 351 17   TOR 6 10 0 334 358 12
SAS 2 14 0 284 469 4                
     
SEMI-FINAL: SEMI-FINAL:
11/09/80 CAL 14 at 32 WIN   11/08/80 OTT 21 at 25 MTL
WEST FINAL: EAST FINAL:
11/15/80 WIN 24 at 34 EDM   11/08/80 OTT 21 at 25 MTL
68TH GREY CUP AT TORONTO:
11/23/80 EDM 48 vs 10 HAM              

1981

The 1981 BC Lions opened in spectacular fashion posting a 5-game win streak and 7-1 mark at the halfway mark. With QB Joe Paopao playing his finest football (3,777 yards and 28 tds) and hooking up with WR Tyron Gray who set (then) a club record with 1,428 receiving yards on 63 catches, the Lions could score from anywhere on the field. RB Larry Key recorded his third 1,000-yard rushing season in four years for a balanced BC offense that scored 27.4 ppg. A pair of wins to close out the season assured another post-season berth and a trip to Winnipeg. BC had never won a road Semi-Final game before and surprised Winnipeg 15-11 by holding them to just 194 yards of offense. John Henry White’s 154 rushing yards were a club record at that time and set up yet another try to reach the Grey Cup through a trip to Edmonton. This time it was much closer but the Eskimos prevailed 22-16 to deny the young Lions team a third trip to the Grey Cup game. Key additions in this season included DT Rick Klassen, DBs Nelson Martin and Larry Crawford. Crawford would go on to Wall of Fame honours and eventually become the Lions’ all-time kick return (6,029 yards) and interceptions leader (51).

WEST DIVISION   EAST DIVISION
  W L T PF PA Pts     W L T PF PA Pts
EDM 14 1 1 576 277 29   HAM 11 4 1 414 335 23
WIN 11 5 0 517 299 22   OTT 5 11 0 306 446 10
BC 10 6 0 438 377 20   MTL 3 13 0 267 518 6
SAS 9 7 0 431 371 18   TOR 2 14 0 241 506 4
CAL 6 10 0 306 367 12                
     
SEMI-FINAL: SEMI-FINAL:
11/08/81 BC 15 at 11 WIN   11/08/81 BC 16 at 22 EDM
WEST FINAL: EAST FINAL:
11/15/81 BC 16 at 22 EDM   11/15/81 OTT 17 at 13 HAM
69TH GREY CUP AT MONTREAL:
11/22/81 EDM 26 vs 23 OTT              

1982

The 1982 season had the QB position gradually pass on to Roy Dewalt from Joe Paopao but was an up and down year for the Lions. A 7-3 start was followed by 4 losses in the final 6 games to finish in fourth place yet again. The lack of progress meant another coaching change as Vic Rapp was let go in favour of Don Matthews in the off-season. The 9-7 record of 1982 meant that Coach Rapp would finish with more victories than any other BC coach to date and a mark of 53-39-4 over six years. West Division Rookie-of-the-Year Mervyn Fernandez had a big impact in his first year with 64 catches for 1,064 yards and 8 tds, while Larry Key added 820 yards rushing in his final season. On defense, LB Glen Jackson and DE Nick Hebeler had big years (14 sacks) while DB Larry Crawford picked off 4 passes. In the last CFL game ever played at Empire Stadium, the Lions faced the very first opponent to play the Lions on that historic field way back in the 1954 pre-season. The MONTREAL Alouettes brought their struggling team to the old stadium on Hastings Street and were beaten soundly 32-16 in front of 15,071 fans in the last of 132 home games to be held at the stadium built for the 1954 British Empire Games.

WEST DIVISION   EAST DIVISION
  W L T PF PA Pts     W L T PF PA Pts
EDM 11 5 0 544 323 22   TOR 9 6 1 426 426 19
WIN 11 5 0 444 352 22   HAM 8 7 1 396 401 17
CAL 9 6 1 403 440 19   OTT 5 11 0 376 462 10
BC 9 7 0 449 390 18   MTL 2 14 0 267 502 4
SAS 6 9 1 427 436 13                
     
SEMI-FINAL: SEMI-FINAL:
11/14/82 CAL 3 at 24 WIN   11/14/82 OTT 30 at 20 HAM
WEST FINAL: EAST FINAL:
11/21/82 WIN 21 at 24 EDM   11/21/82 OTT 7 at 44 TOR
70TH GREY CUP AT TORONTO:
11/28/82 EDM 32 vs 16 TOR              

1983

1983 was a re-birth for the Lions both with the hiring of Coach Don Matthews and the opening of B.C. Place Stadium. The new facility saw record attendances for CFL games as the Lions averaged 45,550 per game and would be pleasantly surprised at the results. All of the development that had occurred under Coach Rapp came to fruition with a fine 11-5 record and a first place finish for the first time since 1964. The 1991-point scoring record of West leader Lui Passaglia plus five other All-Stars (John Blain, Mervyn Fernandez, Larry Crawford with a club record 12 INTs, Kerry Parker and Mack Moore) keyed the resurgence which carried over into the West Final vs Winnipeg. BC prevailed 39-21 to end a long drought and return to the Grey Cup at home. Though the Lions did not the Cup in 1983, losing 18-17 to Toronto in front of 59,409 fans, this season saw the start of a great run of success on the field and in the stands. Roy Dewalt’s passing accounted for 3,637 yards as Fernandez, John Pankratz and Sammy Greene each caught 60+ passes. The defense accounted for 8 tds themselves in one oif the finest season in BC Lions history.

WEST DIVISION   EAST DIVISION
  W L T PF PA Pts     W L T PF PA Pts
BC 11 5 0 477 326 22   TOR 12 4 0 452 328 24
WIN 9 7 0 412 402 18   OTT 8 8 0 384 424 16
EDM 8 8 0 450 377 16   HAM 5 10 1 389 498 11
CAL 8 8 0 425 378 16   MTL 5 10 1 367 447 11
SAS 5 11 0 360 536 10                
     
SEMI-FINAL: SEMI-FINAL:
11/13/83 EDM 22 at 49 WIN   11/13/83 HAM 33 at 31 OTT
WEST FINAL: EAST FINAL:
11/20/83 WIN 21 at 39 BC   11/20/83 HAM 36 at 41 TOR
71ST GREY CUP AT VANCOUVER:
11/27/83 TOR 18 vs 17 BC              

1984

The Lions’ success picked up where it left off and by season’s end BC had secured their second straight regular season West title at 12-3-1. K Lui Passaglia once again led the CFL in scoring with 167 points and newly-acquired DE James Parker (CFL Top Defensive Player) set an all-time CFL record with 26.5 sacks. Offensively, WR Mervyn Fernandez set a new club record with 1,486 receiving yards and 17 td receptions. QB Roy Dewalt amassed 3,613 passing yards and 21 tds for the Lions relying on five different players to grab at least 40 passes. BC was heavily favoured to defeat Winnipeg in the 1984 West Final having beaten the Bombers 20-3 to end the regular season. A second straight trip to the Grey Cup was not to be as Winnipeg shocked the Lions, who were without an injured Roy Dewalt, 31-14 outgaining them 421-178 in the process.

WEST DIVISION   EAST DIVISION
  W L T PF PA Pts     W L T PF PA Pts
BC 12 3 1 445 281 25   TOR 9 6 1 461 361 19
WIN 11 4 1 523 309 23   HAM 6 9 1 353 439 13
EDM 9 7 0 464 443 18   MTL 6 9 1 386 404 13
SAS 6 9 1 348 479 13   OTT 4 12 0 354 507 8
CAL 6 10 0 314 425 12                
     
SEMI-FINAL:   SEMI-FINAL:
11/04/84 EDM 20 at 55 WIN   11/04/84 MTL 11 at 17 HAM
WEST FINAL:   EAST FINAL:
11/11/84 WIN 31 at 14 BC   11/11/84 HAM 14 at 13 TOR
72ND GREY CUP AT EDMONTON:
11/18/84 WIN 47 vs 17 HAM              

1985

In Coach Matthews’ third season at the helm, all of the promise finally came together from start to finish. The Lions averaged 42,336 fans at B.C. Place and did not disappoint with a 13-3 mark for their third consecutive West leading record. A 10-1 mark from the start, an incredible 7-1 road record and wins in the last three games secured a home game in the West Final vs Winnipeg yet again. The Lions were now a solid, veteran group led by Mervyn Fernandez who collected the CFL Most Outstanding Player Award for 1985 joining an amazing nine other teammates on the elite squad including CFL Top Rookie DT Mike Gray. This time the West Final, the Lions overwhelmed the Bombers 42-22 behind the 3 td passes and 314 yards of QB Roy Dewalt and the heroics of Ned Armour. Late season addition Freddie Sims rushed for 116 yards to take the Lions to the 1985 Grey Cup Game in MONTREAL. After BC took an early 13-0 lead, Hamilton stormed back to go ahead 14-13 but they would not see the end zone again until it was too late. A BC club record 394 passing by Roy Dewalt led to 3 tds through the air (two to Armour) and the second and even longer wait for a Grey Cup title was over by a 37-24 count.

WEST DIVISION   EAST DIVISION
  W L T PF PA Pts     W L T PF PA Pts
BC 13 3 0 481 297 26   HAM 8 8 0 377 315 16
WIN 12 4 0 500 259 24   MTL 8 8 0 284 332 16
EDM 10 6 0 432 373 20   OTT 7 9 0 272 402 14
SAS 5 11 0 320 462 10   TOR 6 10 0 344 397 12
CAL 3 13 0 256 429 6                
     
SEMI-FINAL: SEMI-FINAL:
11/10/85 EDM 15 at 22 WIN   11/10/85 OTT 20 at 30 MTL
WEST FINAL: EAST FINAL:
11/17/85 WIN 22 at 42 BC   11/17/85 MTL 26 at 50 HAM
73RD GREY CUP AT MONTREAL:
11/24/85 BC 37 vs 24 HAM              

1986

The re-emergence of the Edmonton Eskimos ensured a difficult defense of the 1985 title and a 12-6 record was marred by three straight defeats to the Alberta club. BC put together a six-game win streak at one stage but were forced to settle for second and after a 21-14 Semi-Final win over Winnipeg traveled to Edmonton for the West Final. The Eskimos completely dominated the Lions that day by a 41-5 score as Roy Dewalt could not move the club. Matt Dunigan, a future BC QB himself, threw 3 td passes en route to the victory which kept the Lions from going to the Grey Cup once more. Bright spots in 1986 included James Parker and Larry Crawford (All-Stars on defense) and the club record 4,057 passing yards of Dewalt. Jim Mills joined the club in 1986 and would go on to a fine career of 129 games and 3 All-Star spots with BC, and Mervyn Fernandez departed for the NFL leaving a big hole at wide receiver.

WEST DIVISION   EAST DIVISION
  W L T PF PA Pts     W L T PF PA Pts
EDM 13 4 1 540 365 27   TOR 10 8 0 417 441 20
BC 12 6 0 441 410 24   HAM 9 8 1 405 366 19
WIN 11 7 0 545 387 22   MTL 4 14 0 320 500 8
CAL 11 7 0 484 380 22   OTT 3 14 1 346 514 7
SAS 6 11 1 382 517 13                
     
SEMI-FINALS: EAST FINAL: (HAM wins 59-56)
11/15/86 WIN 14 at 21 BC   11/16/86 TOR 31 at 17 HAM
11/16/86 CAL 18 at 27 EDM   11/23/86 HAM 42 at 25 TOR
WEST FINAL: NO EAST SEMI-FINAL IN 1986
11/23/86 BC 5 at 41 EDM              
74TH GREY CUP AT VANCOUVER:
11/30/86 HAM 39 vs 15 EDM              

1987

The core of the 1980s Lions continued to dominate regular seasons and with a 4-0 start the Lions were on top again. Sitting at 8-3, the Lions fell into a 3-game losing streak following which GM Joe Galat fired Don Matthews and installed Larry Donovan as Head Coach. The players responded with a 4-game winning streak to close out the season (which included a dramatic 33-32 comeback win in Edmonton) and capture their fourth title in five years at 12-6. Roy Dewalt passed for over 3,800 yards with Jim Sandusky and John Pankratz as his main targets in an offense built to the CFL “pass at all costs” standard of the day. The Lions averaged 27.9 ppg and counted a stunning 15 tds from their defense (10) and their special teams (5). The club had a record 11 Western All-Stars led by Dewalt and the club’s four CFL All-Stars in Sandusky, LB Kevin Konar, DE Greg Stumon and DB Larry Crawford. K Lui Passaglia recorded a club record and personal best 214 points including a (then) CFL record 52 FGs. Once again, regular season success did not lead to the Grey Cup as Edmonton came to B.C. Place and dominated the Lions 31-7 to head to the CFL Final.

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WEST DIVISION   EAST DIVISION
  W L T PF PA Pts     W L T PF PA Pts
BC 12 6 0 502 370 24   WIN 12 6 0 554 409 24
EDM 11 7 0 617 462 22   TOR 11 6 1 484 427 23
CAL 10 8 0 453 517 20   HAM 7 11 0 470 509 14
SAS 5 12 1 364 529 11   OTT 3 15 0 377 598 6
     
SEMI-FINAL: SEMI-FINAL:
11/15/87 CAL 16 at 30 EDM   11/15/87 HAM 13 at 29 TOR
WEST FINAL: EAST FINAL:
11/22/87 EDM 31 at 7 BC   11/22/87 TOR 19 at 3 WIN
75TH GREY CUP AT VANCOUVER:
11/29/87 EDM 38 vs 36 TOR              

1988

The 1988 CFL season meant institution of the “competition cap” and this forced the re-tooling of the team. John Pankratz (8 seasons) and John Blain (11 seasons) and DB Nelson Martin (7 seasons) retired, DT Rick Klassen was traded, unsigned QB Roy Dewalt headed for Winnipeg. Matt Dunigan stepped into the lineup in a trade with Edmonton which featured the combination of Tony Cherry (889 yds) and Anthony Parker (851 yds), along with CFL MOP David Williams. Dunigan passed for 3,776 yards and 26 tds with Williams the main target (1,468 yards and 18 tds). The BC defense was led by Mack Moore’s 11 sacks and 7 INTs each from DBs Andre Francis and Keith Gooch. By the start of October, BC had dropped to 5-7 but captured third place with wins in 6 of the last 7 games. BC had the momentum they needed and swept away Saskatchewan and Edmonton on the road (by a combined 79-37) to meet Winnipeg in the Grey Cup. The Bombers staved off a late rally with an interception and prevailed 22-21 to prevent BC from gaining their third CFL championship.

WEST DIVISION   EAST DIVISION
  W L T PF PA Pts     W L T PF PA Pts
EDM 11 7 0 477 408 22   TOR 14 4 0 571 326 28
SAS 11 7 0 525 452 22   WIN 9 9 0 407 458 18
BC 10 8 0 489 417 20   HAM 9 9 0 478 465 18
CAL 6 12 0 395 476 12   OTT 2 16 0 278 618 4
     
SEMI-FINAL: SEMI-FINAL:
11/13/88 BC 42 At 18 SAS   11/13/88 HAM 28 at 35 WIN
WEST FINAL: EAST FINAL:
11/20/88 BC 37 At 19 EDM   11/20/88 WIN 27 at 11 TOR
76TH GREY CUP AT OTTAWA:
11/27/88 WIN 22 Vs 21 BC              

1989

Coach Larry Donovan’s team got off to a slow start and was dismissed after four losses in a row by GM Joe Galat who took over. Despite a 4-game winning streak, the Lions never got back into it as Edmonton won all four meetings in 1989. Attendance remained strong at 31,795 per game as the CFL became even more offensive oriented and a club record 521 points was offset by 557 points allowed. QB Matt Dunigan had two targets reach 1,000 yards in All-Star WR David Williams (1,446 yds and 14 tds) and WR Mark Streater (1,091 yds 6 tds) but weak defense saw the Lions lose 7 games by 7 points or less. K Lui Passaglia continued his assault on pro scoring record with another 175 to reach 2,196 after 14 seasons. Western Rookie of the Year Darrell Wallace set a CFL record with 1,255 yards. The player turnover continued as the Lions lost long-time stars G Jamie Buis, LB Kevin Konar, DB Larry Crawford and DE James Parker during or after this year.

WEST DIVISION   EAST DIVISION
  W L T PF PA Pts     W L T PF PA Pts
EDM 16 2 0 644 302 32   HAM 12 6 0 519 517 24
CAL 10 8 0 495 466 20   TOR 7 11 0 369 428 14
SAS 9 9 0 547 567 18   WIN 7 11 0 408 462 14
BC 7 11 0 521 557 14   OTT 4 14 0 426 630 8
     
SEMI-FINAL: SEMI-FINAL:
11/12/89 SAS 33 At 26 CAL   11/12/89 WIN 30 at 7 TOR
WEST FINAL: EAST FINAL:
11/19/89 SAS 32 At 21 EDM   11/19/89 WIN 10 at 14 HAM
77TH GREY CUP AT TORONTO:
11/26/89 SAS 43 Vs 40 HAM              
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