Regina, SK- It wasn’t a classic by any means but the pre-season opener for your BC Lions provided a few big plays, some clutch defence and a few standout performances that will make for some tough roster decisions for Rick Campbell and his coaching staff. The end result was a 30-27 loss at Saskatchewan’s Mosaic Stadium with the winning points coming courtesy of a Mason Fine touchdown strike to Mitchell Picton with 2:44 left to play. Now for some Game Takes from Matt Baker following a spirited affair in Regina.
Evans and Davis Alternate Series As Offence Shows Some Shine
It took a while for the offence to get going yet they did manage to piece together an impressive second-quarter drive that was capped by a Dane Evans touchdown pass to Global Draft selection Jevoni Robinson. That connection gave the visitors a 10-9 lead at the half and enabled Robinson to make amends for a lot fumble earlier in that second quarter.
The other offensive scoring series came in the third quarter with the big play coming courtesy of an Evans bomb to rookie Bryson Daughtry that went for over 30 yards. Evans then scored on a one-yard run to put the visitors ahead 20-9. The quarterback agreed he and Davis were helped by a solid contingent of offensive playmakers.
“We just saw tonight the product of those guys’ hard work throughout all of training camp,” Evans said.
“Those guys have been either physically getting after it or mentally diving into their playbooks. I think today those guys really played free and they were able to make some big plays for us. I know as a quarterback, all of us like to see that. It’s a room that we’re really deep at obviously, with the starters and stuff. But you can never have too many guys that can make plays and I think those guys definitely did some good things for themselves today.”
Ayden Eberhardt led all receivers with 104 yards on six receptions and certainly showed his ability to transfer his good practice habits into game action. Robinson hauled in five catches for 44 yards. Antonio Williams led all Lions on the ground in a pass-heavy contest with 23 yards on just six carries.
“I think they got a lot of looks between the return game and obviously on offence,” added head coach Rick Campbell.
“That’s why we’re going to watch the film and make sure we evaluate these guys but I think they got enough plays in, which was the goal was to give these guys enough turns to get a good look at them, and we’ll definitely evaluate it.”
Varga Defensive Score Highlights Defensive Effort
The defence may have let the game slip at the end but this night was not without some impressive performances. They got an early takeaway on a Josh Archibald forced fumble that led to three points. And then in the fourth quarter with the Riders pinned deep in their own end, University of Regina product Ryder Varga made a perfect read and intercepted a Shea Patterson throw before returning it 11 yards to the house. The Lions wouldn’t score again but it was comforting to see the defence shine in certain areas.
“I thought we did a lot of good things, ” said Campbell.
“We gave up too many deep balls, contested balls that were 50/50 balls that we want to make more plays on, but I thought we did a lot of good work up front, especially in the first half. I know we were fighting an uphill battle. We were punting a lot in the first quarter and our defence was out there quite a bit. I think they kept battling. That’s just from first looking at it, too many of those contested deep balls.”
Not the result on the scoreboard they wanted, but certainly plenty to build on.
The team flies back to Kamloops Sunday and will practice at Hillside Stadium on Monday and Tuesday. Pre-season wraps up with a Thursday night home clash against Calgary. Kickoff is 7:30 pm.