June 1, 2024

Bakes’ Game Takes | BC 26 EDM 9

Steven Chang/ BC Lions

(Vancouver)– The pre-season pressure is over. Now the real work and evaluation continues. Vernon Adams Jr. and the BC Lions wrapped up their exhibition campaign with a valiant effort in their 26-9 win over the Edmonton Elks on Friday night. It’s now up to Neil McEvoy, Rick Campbell and the entire brass to trim the roster down as the squad will begin preparations for the June 9 opener in Toronto. Now for some game takes following the Friday night pre-season finale.

Starters Shine, Handful More Make Their Cases

Adams Jr. and the offence took advantage of an Edmonton major foul and exploded out of the gate with an 11 play, 82-yard drive culminating with a William Stanback major.

In his first game action of 2024, Adams Jr. finished  was 7/9 for 116 yards and a beauty second quarter TD strike to Alexander Hollins.

Jake Dolegala then entered before halftime and recovered from an early interception to hit Terry Williams for a major which helped propel the home side to a 23-6 lead at the break. The former Saskatchewan pivot got a solid body of work in following last week’s struggles in Calgary. Chase Brice once again got the entire second half, which proved largely uneventful for both teams. Rick Campbell echoed his comments from earlier in the week regarding the tough decisions ahead of next week.

“I sure liked our compete level, I liked the enthusiasm. We told our guys this game wasn’t about the scoreboard. It was about opportunity, ” Campbell explained.

“I know there’s going to be tough decisions tomorrow. It’s going to be a short night and early morning. A lot of decisions that have to be made and they’re going to be tough ones, which is a good thing for us.”

Overall, a. tidy piece of business for many of the ones while a few roster hopefuls also made their case. It’s hard to highlight all of them in one recap, but wide receiver Stanley Berryhill turned some heads after recovering from an early drop to finish four receptions for 50 yards. He also chipped in with a pair of returns for 38 yards. His insertion into the starting lineup came after Ayden Eberhardt was scratched with an ankle injury.

“Wherever the coaches need me to play, I’ll play,” Berryhill said of his versatility.

“I did it a lot growing up in high school and obviously, I did it in college. If they need me to return, I’ll return. We have a pretty good returner in Terry, so if he needs a break or a breather I’m more than happy to jump back there. Whatever they need me to do, I’ll do. I just like to try to be in the right spot at the right time, know my alignment and assignment, that’s what I hear from the coaches and quarterbacks. I just try to be in my spot and if the ball comes to me, make the play.”

The defence did it’s job against a young Elks lineup, holding them to just one touchdown on the opening drive. Their big statement of the night came on a third quarter goal line stand where rookie defensive back Ronald Kent was credited with three consecutive tackles after the Lions lined up offside.

“There was a lot of new guys on that goal line stand. And we lined up offside the first time. So, we ended up stopping them four times, which is pretty hard to do from the one-yard line,” Campbell added.

“But I was glad for the guys on the field, getting lined up right. You could see their enthusiasm, it mattered to them and they were excited about it. You could see the enthusiasm on the sideline too. I was excited that the guys on the bench were excited for them too. We just talked about everybody staying engaged, staying involved and having each other’s backs. I was glad to see our team do that.”

Let the fun evaluation begin. Pre-season or regular season, it was indeed great to be back in front of our home fans.

Key Numbers

315- combined passing yards for Lion quarterbacks. Dolegala led the way with 118, followed by Adams Jr. with 116 and rookie Chase Brice with 81.

197– the Lions held Edmonton to under 200 yards of net offence.

72– a game-high in receiving yards for Justin McInnis.

5- the home side only committed five penalties for a modest 40 yards. Discipline is also key in these times of evaluation.

50K- that’s what we’re on track to sell for tickets to the June 15 Concert Kickoff featuring 50 Cent. How cool is that?

Next Up

We now play for keeps, folks. The Lions open their 70th regular season one week from Sunday, June 9, in Toronto. The Leos return to the practice field on Tuesday in Surrey.

Matt Baker: