November 6, 2016

Homeward-bound: Lions looking forward to playoffs at BC Place

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – It’s been a while since fans in Vancouver have seen any playoff action – five years to be exact.

But after their commanding 41-18 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday night, the BC Lions will give their fans just that – a home playoff date.

The Lions finished the regular season 12-6, good for second in the West Division, and will host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Western Semi-Final on November 13th.

“It’s huge for the fans and huge for the organization,” quarterback Jonathon Jennings said of the home playoff match. “To be second place right now, it’s pretty cool and it’s getting us on track to do the things that we want to do every year.”

Recap: ‘The Manny Show” leads Lions over Riders to secure home playoff date
» View Gallery: Roughriders at Lions
» Watch: Lions, Riders recap


Jennings, who played three quarters before being subbed out for backup quarterback Travis Lulay, led his team to victory at BC Place. The 24-year-old connected on 17-of-25 passes for 307 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

And the recipient of two of those touchdown passes? Emmanuel Arceneaux.

Arceneaux showed everyone why he’s referred to as ‘The Manny Show’ as he hauled in 180 yard on 10 receptions, including the two major scores.

The receiver also passed 100 receptions on the season, becoming just the fifth Lion in franchise history – and the first one since 2006 – to do so.

“He’s phenomenal,” Jennings said of Arceneaux. “He came in and needed five catches to have 100 receptions and he eclipsed that easily. He’s just a guy that comes to work every day and takes advantage of every opportunity he has and he deserves it.”

Jennings himself also had a milestone night as he passed the 5,000 yard passing mark on the season. He joined Doug Flutie, Dave Dickenson and Casey Printers as the only ones to do so in franchise history. The pivot also joined Bo Levi Mitchell and Mike Reilly as the only quarterbacks to throw for over 5,000 yards this season.

“Not everyone gets to say they did it,” Jennings said of passing the 5K mark. “I’m just fortunate and blessed enough to have had a healthy off-season and had a great team around me to help me accomplish it.”

“It’s huge for the fans and huge for the organization. To be second place right now, it’s pretty cool.”

Jonathon Jennings

The contest was the second meeting between the Roughriders and the Lions in as many weeks, with the Lions taking both contests. Although they got the victory in Week 19, Jennings said his team played a more complete game this week.

“We made plays,” said Jennings of the victory on Saturday. “That’s something we didn’t do last time against Saskatchewan. We didn’t make those tough, long plays, and tonight we made the long throws.”

And the young, explosive pivot looked deep on numerous occasions.

He first connected with Arceneaux for a 36-yard gain in the first quarter and then tossed to Arceneaux again in the second quarter, this one for 61 yards. Jennings also looked to Terrell Sinkfield in the third quarter for a 46-yard gain.

The Lions also used the ground game as Chris Rainey rushed for 89 yards on nine carries while Rolly Lumbala rushed twice for 34 yards.

Jeremiah Johnson took a hard hit in the first quarter and it looked like his night was over with a lower body injury but returned to the field soon after. Johnson finished his night with eight carries for 40 yards.

“I’m good, I had a little flat tire,” Johnson said with a smile after the game. “I was trying to play hard and I just thank God it wasn’t any worse and that I’m out here still standing and finished the game.”

Paul McCallum made his first start since returning from retirement on Saturday. The 46-year-old went four-for-four on field goals with the longest booted from 44-yards out. Head coach Wally Buono was impressed with the kicker’s performance and was excited that the decision to bring McCallum back as a good one.

“The good thing about Paul is that he is pro and he understands where he’s at and what he has to do,” said Buono. “He came in with the best attitude. He just wanted to come here and help the football club. It was something that we felt we needed to do. I was proud of Paul that he looked at it in the right frame (of mind). We reached out to him because we needed help and he felt that it was a good opportunity for him too.”

And now all the Lions have to do is take the momentum from their stellar 2016 season into the Western Semi-Final next week.

“I can’t wait for the fans to come out,” Jennings said of next weekend’s playoff contest. “It’s time for Vancouver to really be excited about football again and I think we have the team to do it.”