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With November knocking on the door, that means hardware season is upon us. Although hoisting the Grey Cup remains the number one goal, there is always the time to recognize the important individual achievements of any given season. The BC Lions, along with the rest of their league counterparts, announced their team nominees for the CFL Player Awards. From here, each category will be narrowed down to one player per division with the final results being unveiled at the annual awards dinner as part of Grey Cup week on Thursday, November 22nd in Edmonton.
A double-nomination for the Lions’ second-year kicking specialist. Both are well-deserved for the product of Alabama-Birmingham. After entering 2017 training camp as a relative unknown behind free agent target Swayze Waters, Long has improved immensely since winning the job to start last season. Entering this week, Long leads the CFL in punting yards, punting average and has hit 43 of 49 field goal attempts. In addition, Long had a streak of 33 consecutive field goal attempts made at home from September of last season to October 6th, 2018.
Coming over in a trade with Hamilton early in training camp, Coleman has brought some much-needed run-stopping ability to the completely revamped Lions’ defensive front. He has racked up 55 defensive tackles and eight sacks through 17 games. But perhaps his most memorable accomplishment came in the October 6th victory over Toronto when he recorded a pair of interceptions to help seal the victory. That rare performance from a defensive lineman earned Coleman a CFL Performer of the Week nod.
The drastically improved Lions’ offensive line begins and ends with Figeuora, GM Ed Hervey’s top free agent target back in February. The new left tackle has epitomized the type of physicality they have brought each and every game. As a result, the Lions have allowed the CFL’s third-lowest sack total heading into their final regular season contest and with running back Tyrell Sutton bringing more of a physical presence in the backfield, they could do some damage come playoff time.
Easily the most productive season in orange for the Abbotsford native who returned to the club after a one-year stint in the NFL. We knew he would once again be a force on special teams, but his play on defence has allowed the Lions some extra luxury with the ratio. Lokombo has 69 defensive tackles, second-highest on the squad behind TJ Lee III, four sacks and also has recorded the first two interceptions of his CFL career. Five years after he was drafted, Lokombo is showing all the signs of being the dominant Canadian player many thought he would be.
Much like Coleman, the Haitian-born Louis has played a big part in helping the Lions become a little nastier on the defensive line and an important piece to their rotation. He is coming off his best performance of his rookie season; nine defensive tackles in Saturday’s road game against Saskatchewan. Louis recorded his first two CFL sacks on August 18th in Toronto. His 6/5, 302-pound frame has posed some problems for the opposition at key times this season.