There is nothing like holding destiny in your own hands and that's exactly what the Lions accomplished by beating the Esks in B.C. Place this past weekend before a crowd of almost 30,000.
If the Lions take care of business against Montreal next Saturday it will not matter what the Esks or Calgary do, the Lions will finish the season in 1st place and host the Western Final in B.C. Place.
I was excited to look at next week's schedule. Both the Esks and the Stampeders play their games before the Lions do. What this means is that if the Esks and Calgary lose their respective matches then the Lions sew up 1st Place without even showing up for their own game against Montreal! lol They can actually lose their game against Montreal because Edmonton, Calgary and B.C. would all end up with 20 points. The Lions would prevail because thanks to their effort this past Saturday the Lions have won their series against Calgary and Edmonton. How sweet is that? It would be very interesting to see who the starters would be against Montreal if the Lions do go into the game with 1st place already sown up. And it just could happen!
Lasts night's game had some cool and at times "comical" surprises. Several players who were beaten up previously returned to duty: Lulay, Arakgi, Harris, Elimimian. Rather comical though it must have given Wally fits was when the Esks punted the ball and neither of the Lions' punt returners attempted to catch the ball. "Your ball.....No...your ball...NO no, you take it..IT'S YOUR BALL!.....oh dang it!! The ball hit the turf bounced to the LIons 10 yard line was picked up by Johnson and thanks to an Eksie's penalty the Lions got the ball on about their 40 yard line! What was comical is that the big jumbo monitor immediately played the "play of the game" which many of us thought was going to be a replay of the faux pas we just witnessed. It wasn't of course.
Lulay has proven himself to be a marquis player and QB in the CFL and I'm really glad we have him and he isn't playing for someone else. Some QB's who are excellent are prone to injury. Pierce for Winnipeg comes to mind. I love watching Buck Pierce and he's as dedicated to the sport as anyone but you just never know if he's going to get up off the turf sometimes. He has already been taken out 3 of 4 times during the season. Lulay though can take some serious big time hits and bounce right back up.
There was one play he made where he ran the ball by himself and could have settled for a minimal gain but had the where with all not to step out of bounds and fought and hacked his way for more yardage finally drawing a 15 yard face mask penalty against Edmonton. That was some gutsy performance by a guy who was injured just last week.
It was great to see Paris Jackson doing some damage for the Lions. What a sight to see this guy score a TD after such limited play. He still has the sure hands and the speed to get things done. And I cannot say enough about Arland Bruce. In hindsight the Lions stole this guy from Hamilton! Arland Bruce is like a Mike Tyson but with brains. This guy is one tough, fast and sure handed guy! He makes catches that "good" players would likely not make so what does that say about Arland Bruce? Age is obviously just a number to him. This guy has added an incredible dimension to the LIons' team!
It was so great to see Solomon Elimimian back up to his usual seek and destroy mode. Like a blood hound he is relentless!
Phillips and Banks did a good job keeping Fred Stamps in check last night but you had to feel for Phillips when he got burned in the end zone by an Edmonton receiver [Barnes I think]. Phillips saw where the ball was going and made a b-line for the ball but his timing was just a little off and his hand went up too soon as he try to bat the ball away.
A tip of the hat to the Lions D for keeping Messam in check for most of the night. The Lions are Grey Cup contenders- no question about it. They bounced back from a 42-10 thrashing last week against the Ti-Cats- despite sustaining some nasty injuries in the game. I can't wait to see Foster and Brown back in the line-up and Harris playing the way he likes to play. Word is that Brown is ready to play and will likely play next week against Montreal. It will be very interesting to see how much playing time Wally give the 2nd stringers should the Lions already be Western Finalists!
Great work Lions!