B.C. in desperate need of a win, Lions set to host Ottawa Redblacks

Even if B.C. sweeps the club’s final five games, it still might not be enough to make the post-season

There was a palpable anger in the B.C. Lions’ locker-room following a last-second loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats two weeks ago.

Wally Buono would like to see a little more of that emotion from his team on the field.

“After the fact, it’s too late. Maybe go into the game a little more angry,” said B.C.’s head coach and general manager. “Football is an emotional game played by angry men.

“The anger has to come before the game, not after the game.”

Fresh off a bye week, where all they could do was stew over the crushing 24-23 home defeat that put another major dent in their playoff hopes, the Lions (6-7) sit last in the CFL’s West Division as they prepare to host the Ottawa Redblacks (5-9-1) on Saturday.

Even if B.C. sweeps the club’s final five games, it still might not be enough to make the post-season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (7-6) and Edmonton Eskimos (7-6), who sit third and fourth in the West, both holding the tiebreaker over the Lions.

“You wanna be in the playoffs? You’re in the playoffs,” Buono said in describing his team’s current predicament. “I’ve been here a million times.

“I can handle the pressure. Can you?”

READ MORE: Lions quarterback Travis Lulay suffers suspected torn ACL against Alouettes

The good news for B.C. is Edmonton has lost six straight after starting the season 7-0, but the success or failure of the teams ahead of the Lions in the standings won’t matter if they can’t figure out their own game.

“It’s playoff football for us right now,” said B.C. wide receiver Bryan Burnham. ”We can’t lose. We can’t rely on other teams. We have to do what we can.

“Every game’s a must-win from here on out.”

🚀🚀🚀 #Repost @tsn_official ・・・ Jonathon Jennings keeps airing it out, Lions' receivers keep hauling them in! 🚀

A post shared by BC Lions Football Club (@bclions_official) on

Lions quarterback Jonathon Jennings showed signs of life in the loss to Hamilton after a dismal performance against the Calgary Stampeders the previous week, but an offence that was supposed to light up the scoreboard has still yet to find its rhythm for a club that has lost two straight and five of its last six.

“It’s been a tough season for all of us,” said Jennings, who has just six touchdown passes and an ugly 12 interceptions. ”It hurts to lose, especially with all the expectations we have for ourselves.

“But we know it’s not over. We know our chances aren’t lost.”

Wide receiver Chris Williams, who signed with B.C. following two outstanding seasons in Ottawa, said the Lions’ biggest problem has been a lack of execution in key moments.

“We’ve just got to go out there and make plays when the opportunities are given,” said Williams. ”There’s going to be some opportunities out there. We’ve got to sting them. We’ve got to make it count.”

The Redblacks, meanwhile, sit second in the East after two straight losses — including last week’s 18-17 home defeat to Saskatchewan — but should have star quarterback Trevor Harris, who suffered a separated throwing shoulder on Sept. 9, under centre at B.C. Place Stadium.

Last season’s Grey Cup champions, seven of the Redblacks’ nine losses have been a combined 17 points in what has also been a frustrating 2017.

“You play football to play football, not to watch it or be on the (injured reserve),” Harris told reporters in Ottawa before the team flew west. “Even just missing three weeks is something that’s an eye-opener.”

The Redblacks beat the Lions 31-24 in the nation’s capital back on Aug. 26. The visitors trailed 31-3 in the fourth quarter before a frantic comeback attempt fell short after quarterback Travis Lulay replaced an ineffective Jennings.

But Lulay suffered a torn ACL in his right knee two weeks later, thrusting Jennings back into the starting role.

Despite his struggles, Buono said the third-year pivot still has a chance to save both his and the Lions’ season.

It just has to start now.

“Athletes thrive on success,” said Buono. “When success doesn’t happen, everybody’s confidence starts to wane. It’s what your foundation is, it’s what your beliefs are, it’s what your support system is that helps you to get through it.

“At the end of it you’ve got to pick yourself up. Nobody’s going to help you.”

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

More than 115 people attend UVic blood drive

Canadian Blood Services says UVic is a target location to create lifetime donors

Potential for Greater Victoria sewage project to go over budget

“Our confidence [in meeting budget] is not high”

Home care complaints up 45% on Vancouver Island

Number of home care hours delivered down 6%, complaints up 45 %

City of Victoria endorses potential class action lawsuit against fossil fuel giants

Data will be gathered to quantify how much environmental damage the city has faced

Residents push back on downtown Victoria tree removal

The birch tree at the Wharf-Government intersection will be removed to make way for bike lanes

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

Collapsed floor traps worker at decommissioned North Island pulp mill

Man frees self, escapes injury, investigation underway at Elk Falls facility in Campbell River

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Suspect allegedly armed with handgun robs Island gas station

Incident occurred Sunday night in Nanaimo

MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

Factors for increase in eagle cases can be anything from lead poisoning to vehicle strikes

Most Read