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

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

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.

BC Lions

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chelsey Moore’s character Chloe in the upcoming virtual reality game Altdeus: Beyond Chronos. Screengrab
Vancouver Island actress finds success in a virtual world

Black Creek’s Chelsey Moore lends her voice to a new video game set for release in December

Ceramic artist Darrel Hancock working on a clay jug in his home studio in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach potter Darrel Hancock celebrates 40 years in business

‘It’s wonderful to do what you love and make a living at it’

Artist Daniel Cline discusses his sculpture, Harmony Humpbacks, during the June 20 walking tour of Oak Bay’s 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures. Harmony Humpbacks was purchased by Oak Bay as the 2019 people’s choice winner and is permanently installed at the Beach Drive entrance to Willows Park. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)
Influx of donated art a ‘fantastic problem to have,’ says Oak Bay mayor

Oak Bay goes from zero to 10 permanent art pieces since 2015

Dover Bay Secondary School student Victoria Hathfield’s poem <em>Dear Santa</em> appears in<em> Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas is in the Air</em>. (Photo courtesy Darren Lee)
Nanaimo high schooler has first poem published in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’

Victoria Hathfield’s ‘Dear Santa’ appears in new Christmas-themed edition of anthology series

Nanaimo graphic designer Amy Pye has written and illustrated her first children’s book, <em>G is for Grizzly Bear: A Canadian Alphabet</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Nanaimo graphic designer releases first children’s book

Amy Pye teaches the Canadian alphabet in ‘G is for Grizzly Bear’

The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Back Row Brass Quintet – including trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, tuba player Nick Atkinson and French horn player Karen Hough (from left) – were scheduled to tour the Nanaimo area with Christmas Under the Big Tent, but the concert series has now been cancelled. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Symphony brass quintet’s Christmas concert series cancelled

Performances were to happen at venues in Parksville and Lantzville next month

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse, near Shirley. (Contributed - Lee-Ann Ruttan)
New book shines a light on Sheringham Point Lighthouse

Publication examines history, lightkeepers, and volunteer society

Victoria-based guitarist Eric Harper performs at the Port Theatre on Nov. 27. (Photo credit Tatum Duryba)
Classical guitarist to play at the Port Theatre

Eric Harper to play new songs composed during the pandemic

A sample of some of Lou-ann Neel’s jewelry.
Lou-ann Neel wins the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art

Originally from Alert Bay, Neel’s family is steeped in renowned Kwakwaka’wakw artists

I-Hos Gallery manager Ramona Johnson shows some of the paddles available at the retail outlet. Photo by Terry Farrell
I-Hos Gallery celebrates 25 years of promoting First Nation artwork

K’ómoks First Nation-based outlet has art from all over the country

Most Read