2022 CFL BC Lions vs Winnipeg, photo Paul Yates
Jevon Cottoy has been waiting not so patiently for these big late-season moments. In year three as a pro, the big receiver has not experienced the thrill of playing meaningful games in the final weeks. As he and the BC Lions look to get back on track and stay in control in the race for a second-place finish with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in town, Cottoy can feel the adrenaline pumping.
“Definitely,” the former Langley Ram said when asked if he’s enjoying the October intensity.
“Clinching that playoff spot, I hadn’t had a chance to feel what that was like. I’m super excited and everyone I’d say is locked into the task at hand. We have three games to go and the main mission is to win the Grey Cup. Everyone is on the same page and we can’t look too far ahead.”
The math remains simple. At 10-5, the Lions would hang on to second and host Calgary in the November 6th Western Semi-Final if they simply win their three remaining games: Saturday against Winnipeg, next Friday at last-place Edmonton and then a rematch with the Bombers in Manitoba to close things out on October 28th.
Should Cottoy and company want to stay in the driver’s seat, step one would be avoiding some miscues that went down in last week’s loss in Toronto where the offence produced three two-and-outs and a costly fumble in their first four drives.
“We have to come out fast, we have to come out flying,” Cottoy said.
“It’s just trusting (offensive coordinator) Jordan (Maksymic) and what he has planned for us. Jordan puts together a great game plan every week and we just have to trust it. Everybody has got to make sure we know what to do when the ball is in the air and make sure we make those plays.”
Having locked up first place in the West for a second straight season, the Bombers are now faced with the tricky proposition of balancing rest and the need to stay sharp ahead of the division final on November 13th at IG Field. Quarterback and reigning CFL Most Outstanding Player Zach Collaros will get this game off while Dru Brown gets his first career start at quarterback. Dakoda Prukop is also expected to see some snaps.
Up front, the Bombers will also not dress Stanley Bryant or Jamarcus Hardrick. Woody Baron and the Lions won’t worry about who is dressed in white, blue and gold.
“Our preparation, our effort, that comes from us primarily. It’s another game and another opportunity for us, regardless of who we’re playing,” said the Lions defensive lineman.
The goal remains the same for this Lions squad that has battled some adversity in the second half of their season but still harbours hopes of doing something special in November.
“We’re probably going to see them two times more, end of the regular season and then hopefully in the Western Final,” Cottoy adds.
Beating them at home Saturday is a big leap toward that goal.
BC Lions (10-5-0) vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (14-2-0)
Saturday, October 15th
7:00 pm, BC Place
TV: TSN, ESPN+
Radio: AM730, Lions Audio Network, Sirius XM 167 Canada Talks
Season Series: The Bombers prevailed 43-22 in the first meeting back on July 9th at BC Place. The teams will meet to close out the regular season on October 28th at Winni[eg’s IG Field.
3 Lions To Watch
#14 -DB Marcus Sayles- Depleted roster or not, the Bombers will prevent a tough test through the air. Sayles and the defensive backs are looking to establish a ‘No Fly Zone’ as the playoff intensity gets deeper. They were victimized by a couple of big plays in Toronto last week.
#58- DL-Woody Baron- fresh off his first sack as a Lion, Baron gets the start with Josh Banks missing this one due to injury. Plugging those running holes and pressuring a raw Bombers quarterback will be major keys to a win.
#82- WR- Jacob Scarfone- it has been an increased role for the Guelph product since Bryan Burnham was sidelined. Scarfone had s season-high 37 yards on three receptions against the Argonauts.
Injury notes: American Jarell Broxton gets his first start of the season at right guard after Phil Norman tweaked a shoulder in Toronto. Broxton’s lone Lion appearance in August of 2021 at Ottawa was short-lived after he suffered a torn bicep. The Baylor product has spent all of this season split between the practice squad and the injured list.
Defensive lineman Josh Banks (shoulder) is out which means Baron slides up to first-team status and Miles Fox will back him up. Tyneil Cooper starts at defensive back in place of Jalon Edwards-Cooper (foot).
Saturday marks the Lions’ final regular season home contest with the goal of returning to BC Place for the November 6th division Semi-Final. They will close out the schedule with two road games for the first time since 1997 and just the second time since their second season of 1955.
Including his 2-2 record as a starter with the Lions, Vernon Adams Jr. has a lifetime CFL record of 19-14. He is 1-1 all-time in starts against the Blue Bombers.
Running back James Butler continues to increase his productivity. Through games 1-11, Butler averaged 4.1 yards per carry. In games 12-15, he has increased that to 6.4 yards per carry.
Speaking of stats, this game boasts the CFL’s top two leaders in receiving yards: Winnipeg rookie Dalton Shoecn at 1,275 yards and Lions’ MOP candidate Dominique Rhymes at 1,241 yards.
Taking care of business in the Wild West: the Bombers are a perfect 9-0 against division opponents in 2022 and hold a 17-1 overall record against the West dating back to the start of 2021.