Calgary, AB– On the scoreboard, it was as ugly as a pre-season opener can get. When it comes to the film study and upcoming roster evaluation, it can prove to be a valuable tool for individual player grading. Michael O’Connor and the Lions dropped a 41-6 decision to the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday afternoon in their first pre-season contest.
The score says it all. The visitors dressed a mostly rookie-laden lineup, while the Stamps had many of their starters take snaps, including number one quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell. O’Connor finished his night 17/23 for 151 yards and the Lions’ lone touchdown to Jamarius Way. Kevin Thomson was 9/20 for 121 yards but left in the fourth quarter after taking a big hit after throwing an interception return touchdown that helped put the game officially out of reach. His status is not yet known.
Matt Baker with a few game takes following the defeat in Cowtown:
Defence Shines Early In Close First Half
A hungry Lions defensive unit forced four Calgary turnovers in the first half. Two of them were on downs and interceptions by newcomers Tyneil Cooper and Quincy Mauger, which helped keep the game close. The only major of the opening half came on a Calgary punt return touchdown by Shawn Bane. It was 13-0 Stamps at the break and the Lions connected for their lone major by virtue of a special teams takeaway. Mauger forced a fumble that was recovered by Victor Gamboa to set O’Connor and the offence up with a short field.
It wasn’t the first time we saw that connection either.
WR Chemistry Improving
Saturday afternoon was the first chance for the likes of Way, ArDarius Stewart, Sean Modster and Jazz Ferguson to show their worth. Even though the offence was de-railed in the first half due to a couple of turnovers on downs and a missed Mark Milan field goal, the guys were battling and competing for balls all game. O’Connor was impressed also with Montay Crockett
“Crock is a competitor. He’s a baller. I wasn’t surprised one bit to see what he could do out there,” the quarterback said.
“J-Way, I’m really proud of that guy. That touchdown ball I threw to him, we did that three times in practice. I have the utmost confidence that when it’s one-on-one with J-Way, give him a chance. Look what he did. I’m just proud to see his growth throughout camp and ultimately, what he did today.”
They won’t be happy with the lack of finish. But it just goes to show how hard it is to keep battling.
The Coach Says
“It’s just really different rosters and I think that’s happening in the pre-season; we’re playing with many guys who are playing in their first-ever CFL game. It’s a steep learning curve, so I’m proud of how they competed. There were some guys that did some really good things. We were battling. Obviously, it got away at the end of the game, but our number one objective coming into this game was evaluate and make sure we don’t miss on some good players. We need to do a good job watching this film and check it out.”-
Head coach Rick Campbell
326- the Lions’ total offensive yards, compared to 282 for Calgary. More proof that lack of finish can hurt.
73.9– O’Connor’s completion percentage.
5– turnovers committed by the Lions: the interception by Thomson that led to a score and four on downs.
6– game-high defensive tackles for Lions linebacker Josh Woods.
The squad is back to Kamloops for four more days of training camp practices before wrapping up the pre-season at home to Saskatchewan on Friday, June 3 at BC Place. It is a 7:00 pm kickoff on TSN, ESPN+ and AM730.