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September 16, 2019

Carter Ready For More | “It’s Good To Break The Ice.”

Duron Carter (89) of the BC Lions during the CFL game between the Ottawa RedBlacks and the BC Lions at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (Photo: Johany Jutras / CFL)

Duron Carter had been waiting for the moment. Waiting to show the patient BC Lions fans what he is capable of with his game-changing ability. Waiting to prove he can still help this franchise achieve great things. It may have taken until game 12 of a frustrating 2019 season to date, but perhaps it will provide a much-needed springboard for the charismatic wide receiver who arrived with great fanfare as part of a free-agent frenzy back in February.

His first touchdown reception in orange on Friday night helped open the floodgates as Carter, Mike Reilly and company picked up their second win in convincing fashion; 25-9 over the struggling Ottawa RedBlacks in the first of a home and home series. Never one to put the individual success before that of the entire squad, Carter admitted it feels good to not have to listen to the doubters for at least the next week.

“Yeah man, it felt good to finally get one, good to break the ice,” Carter told bclions.com after the victory.

“Hopefully there is more of those to come as well as more wins. It was great coming back into the room with a win under our belts. I hope everybody savours this feeling and we get right back to it next week.”

Being the competitive human he is, Carter will also be motivated by the fact he could have had the hat trick. In the second half, he drew a pass interference call in the endzone and later came within inches of a diving grab on a ball that Reilly had served up from the Ottawa 47-yard line. Perhaps that one was symbolic of how the Lions season had gone before Friday: close, but no cigars.

“Man, it felt good getting some deep targets. I feel like I’m getting back to my old self. Hopefully, I can get more,” the receiver said.

“Duron has been working hard,” added head coach DeVone Claybrooks.

“It’s one of those where he is under the microscope just like myself is under the microscope and Ed is under the microscope. We understand that it comes with the job and it comes with the territory. I tell my guys all the time to tune out the outside noise. As long as the 55-60 guys in this room believe and continue to fight, then we’ll have a chance.”

Duron Carter (89) of the BC Lions, Corey Tindal Sr. (28) and De’Andre Montgomery (41) of the Ottawa RedBlacks during the CFL game between the Ottawa RedBlacks and the BC Lions at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (Photo: Johany Jutras / CFL)

Make no mistake: team results will always come first. Mike Reilly will make sure that remains the sole focus, even after a game where he moved past both Tom Burgess and Sam Etcheverry into 15th all-time in CFL passing. The Lions pivot now sits at 30,556 yards and counting. If the offensive line continues to improve, it should create more openings for Reilly and Carter to establish a connection.

“It was awesome to be in that pocket, hear them communicating and knowing that they were picking things up,” said Reilly.

“There were multiple times where it felt like we were able to play the style of offence that we want to. When they’re taking away your first and second guy in your read I had time to sit back there and progress through and get to the back end of my progression for some big plays. Me and Duron were a fingertip away from a 50-plus yard touchdown where he was on the backside of where I was reading it. I still would have had more time, it just gelt uncomfortable to be sitting back there for so long with the ball. I thought that they did a very nice job.”

At 2-10, the playoff mountain they have to climb may seem Everest-like. Especially without the opportunity to face a Western Division rival until a trip to Edmonton on October 12th- the Lions are smack dab in the middle of six-game run against the East- but all Carter and his teammates can do is bring their absolute best effort against whoever is on the schedule on any given week.

“We’ve definitely dug ourselves a huge hole and our destiny might be out of our hands but we’re still going to fight,” said Carter.

“That’s what coach Claybrooks has been preaching all year. It was good to see it finally come together and now we need to go on a streak.”

Hey, after all, it is the Canadian Football League. Until a team is mathematically eliminated, it is best to just play it safe and let the results play out. If Carter can come up with an encore in Ottawa next week, maybe they’ll put some folks on notice.

Matt Baker: mbaker@bclions.com