Lions open 2010 Season With Solid Road Win in Edmonton

Most BC Lions fans would likely agree Sunday's first regular season outing of the re-vamped BC Lions was a qualified success. Aggressive special teams and Rick Stubler's new, attacking defence were keys to today's victory. Strong directional kicking by wily veteran kicker Paul McCallum hemmed in Edmonton QB Ricky Ray deep in his zone for much of the first half. The rare home loss gives the Eskimos their first defeat of this 2010 campaign, less than hoped on the new Field Turf surface at Commonwealth Stadium.

  BC's offensive line was a question mark going into this Western Conference.  But the new-look "Hogs"—Dean Valli with Duckett and Jones on the left side and Oaifioye and Jon Hameister-Reis on the right side —  didn't make too many mistakes. The Lions' front five allowed quarterback Casey Printers time to scramble effectively and to distribute the ball to new Lions tailback Jamal Robertson and new wide receiver Derrick Armstrong.  Geroy Simon, Paris Jackson and Adriane Arcenault also caught most of what was thrown to them.  Since the offence typically lags a bit behind the defence early in the season the BC offensive team should be a bit more tight next Saturday, home to the Green Riders. 

The stingy new-look BC defence made big play after big play as they held their Western Conference rival Eskimos to just 10 points, mostly off the educated toe of veteran place kicker  Neal Prefontaine.  Former Allouette and new BC defensive end Kerron Williams sacked and repeatedly hurried Ricky Ray causing a key first half turnover.  ( Ricky who?)  Linebacker/defensive back Cory Banks also was difficult to stop, giving Ricky Ray fits with his pass rush off the edge.  The Lions' offensive and defensive lines should be even stronger and healthier for next week's home opener against the Green Riders at Empire Field, when Williams and veteran offensive lineman Sherko Haji Resouli will likely return to the lineup.   BC born and former Allouette Davis Sanchez neatly filled the field corner position. 

Only time will tell whether these 2010 Lions can match CFL colour commentator Glen Suitor's prediction of a 12-win season.  To do that they'll need to win at least 6 or 7 home games at Empire Field and only lose three or four on the road.  But the Lions'  physical and more active front seven looked dominant this afternoon.  BC Head coach Wally Buono and his staff appear to have neatly filled some of the deficiencies that become obvious after last year's eastern conference final bleaching at the hands of the Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes.  

-Dooger in Surrey   <!-- s:cowboy: -->:cowboy:<!-- s:cowboy: -->