June 17, 2023

Bakes’ Game Takes | BC 22 EDM 0

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 17: The Edmonton Elk play the BC Lions at BC Place June 17, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/BC Lions)

It had been 46 years since the last time the BC Lions shut out an opponent. The goose egg drought officially came to an end on Saturday as the 2-0 Leos blanked Edmonton 22-0 in front of 33,103 fans at Save-On-Foods Field at BC Place. For the second time in as many years, the home side gave its fans a night to remember both on and off the field. Most importantly, the team remains unbeaten heading into a critical clash in Winnipeg next week. Now for some game takes from Matt Baker.

LL Cool J Says ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’

LL Cool J rocked the pre-game concert with his signature hit leading the set. The Lions then delivered a knockout punch of their own, limiting Elks’ quarterback Taylor Cornelius to just 13 completions for 101 yards.

The defence also recovered from some early bad breaks including a Garry Peters pass interference that wiped out his interception return touchdown on the very first play. Quincy Mauger also lost a fumble return touchdown when it was ruled Edmonton quarterback Kai Locksley had his forward progress stopped before Mauger snatched it away. Still, they kept battling and it paid off once again.

“You need to keep going. We kept talking, going into halftime, it was definitely one of those grind it out games,” said head coach Rick Campbell.

“They were playing really well on defence and you couldn’t really get in a flow of things. Being up on the scoreboard 9-0 is a big deal. It’s just one of those games, you’ve got to keep playing, keep grinding and doing your thing.”

A forced fumble by Nathan Cherry that was recovered by David Menard in the second quarter would prove to be the catalyst as it led to Shaun Whyte’s second field goal of the night to put them ahead 6-0. Whyte would make five of six attempts on the night. All in all, a stifling effort to be proud of.

“I thought if we could get ahead of them, we could put them in a bind,” Campbell added.

“You can see as the games went on points were like gold. And I think it proved that way being 9-0 at the half.”


Adams Jr. And Offence Put It Away

The offence couldn’t find the end zone until a game-changing drive in the third quarter where Vernon Adams Jr. engineered a five-play drive culminating with a touchdown pass to Dominique Rhymes that put them ahead 19-0.

Adams Jr. was 25/35 for 319 yards and the touchdown strike, giving him 619 passing yards over the first two contests. The defence and special teams may get most of the accolades, but Adams Jr. quietly put together a solid outing display and proved he is the guy to lead this offence going forward in pursuit of the ultimate goal.

“The whole offence came together at halftime basically,” the quarterback explained.

“We knew we had to make adjustments. The defence came out doing things we didn’t think they were going to do. So, we made those adjustments, came out in the second half and did a little bit better. But credit to the defence, man. They put up a zero and put up a great job. I’m proud of this defence, proud of this team. 1-0 this week.”

Another key moment came in the second quarter when Adams Jr. threw an interception to Ed Gainey. Jevon Cottoy then went on the defence, punching the ball out of Gainey’s hands to allow the Lions to retain possession. Without that heads-up play, the shutout is very likely in jeopardy.

“I was just late on that interception, great play by Gainey. Man, Cottoy that was huge getting that ball back. Big tackle. Thank you to him. I know it still counts on the staff sheet but, yeah,” Adams Jr. added on the big turn of events.

Key Numbers

22- fitting that on the first home game since Joe Kapp’s passing, his old squad puts up 22 points in a convincing result. His number 22 is, of course, retired by the club. You know Joe is smiling down.

116- yards from scrimmage from running back Taquan Mizzel: 93 on the ground and 23 more through the air.

436– the Lions’ net offence in this victory compared to just 149 for Edmonton.

34:02- time of possession was in the Lions’ favour in this victory.

16, 735- the number of days between Lion shutout victories. The last took place on August 23 of 1977 against the Toronto Argonauts at Empire Stadium.

Rhymes To Be Evaluated

Rhymes injured his foot on the touchdown catch and would leave the game a few plays later. Campbell said the receiver would be re-evaluated this week after he had an ice bag on it after being looked at by team medical staff. Early indications suggest not much concern it is anything serious.

Next Up

The Lions return to the scene of last year’s nailbiter Western Final with a clash against the Blue Bombers at IG Field on Thursday. Kickoff is 5:30 pm.

Matt Baker: