CALGARY — Korey Williams returned a kick 105 yards for a touchdown, while Hugh O’Neill kicked five field goals including the game winner with 1:13 remaing, as the Lions rallied to down the Calgary Stampeders 29-27 in pre-season action at McMahon Stadium.
The first quarter got off to a rather slow start for both sides on the offensive side of the ball, with punters Rob Maver and O’Neill each getting an opportunity to kick twice after both offences played to two and outs.
Midway through the first quarter, however, the Stamps offence got things started as Tate orchestrated a drive that ended with Rene Paredes splitting the uprights from 38 yards out for the night’s opening points.
But the Lions answered back before the first quarter expired, as Thomas DeMarco – who replaced Travis Lulay under centre midway through the first quarter – connected with third-year receiver Nick Moore in the endzone with a 14-yard pass for the game’s first touchdown.
Lulay finished his appearance with a modest two completions on five attempts for 13 yards.
BC’s lead was short lived, however, as the Stamps answered right back when the second quarter got underway.
With starter Drew Tate now on the sidelines in favour of Kevin Glenn, Calgary’s offence found their rhythm and found the endzone as well, with Glenn finding receiver Maurice Price for a 13-yard strike to give the Stamps a 10-7 lead with 11:20 left in the second frame.
Glenn’s successful quarter would continue just after the three-minute warning, as he marched downfield and eventually found rookie receiver Khalil Paden for a 14-yard touchdown strike.
But whatever momentum the Stamps gained from Paden’s major was quickly erased.
With the rain pouring down on the McMahon Stadium turf, Williams brought back Paredes’ kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown, bringing the Lions within three points of Calgary’s lead with less than two minutes to go in the first half.
After rookie QB Ryan Perrilloux was unable to generate a response for the Stampeders, DeMarco continued to make the most of his opportunity, as he led the Lions on a last-minute drive which ultimately set up a 47-yard field goal by O’Neill to tie the game up at 17 as the first half came to a close.
Glenn finished his evening 7/10 for 125 yards and two touchdown passes, while DeMarco – who started the second half for the Lions but was replaced by Chris Hart in the third quarter – completed five of his nine first half attempts for 66 yards and one major.
Bo Levi Mitchell started the third quarter for the Stamps.
The third frame saw very little action offensively, as both teams were unable to find the endzone, thanks to some impressive play by both defences.
However, the Lions took a 20-17 lead with 3:37 left in the third quarter, thanks to O’Neill’s second field goal of the night – a 36-yarder.
O’Neill would tack on his third and fourth field goals of the night on BC’s next two possession, giving the Lions a 26-17 lead in with the fourth quarter barely underway.
However, the Stamps would reply with 9:59 to play in the fourth, as Paredes connected on a 32-yard field goal to cut BC’s lead to just six.
With just over three minutes to play in the game, Mitchell connected with Brandon Kinnie for a 38-yard catch and run play that brought the drive all the way to the one-yard line.
One play later, Jonathan Williams ran in untouched into the endzone to give the Stamps a slim 27-26 lead.
Following the Calgary major, the Lions made a switch under centre, as Joey Elliott entered the game. The former Blue Bomber pivot made his presence felt immediately, as he connected on three of his first four passes to get the Lions into field goal range.
O’Neill would then connect on his fifth field goal of the game, booting a long 47-yard kick into the wind to give the Lions a 29-27 lead with 1:13 remaining in the game.
Mitchell would come out for one final drive, but was unable to gain a first down, giving the Lions their first win of the 2013 pre-season.