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

UFV introduces first mindfulness graduate program in Canada

Most of the University of the Fraser Valley program is offered online

Missing man from Chilliwack was riding a silver mountain bike

RCMP investigators are asking the public to keep an eye out for the 70-year-old man

Enjoy the enchanting and powerful sounds of the cello at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Join cellist Beth Root Sandvoss as she performs Cellicious, a concert full of energy and intensity

Mounties hunt for missing Langley man

The public has been asked to help locate David Grainger, last seen on March 19

Lagoon improvements, but no safety audit recommendations, coming to Harrison

The lagoon will see electrical upgrades, a new flag pole and fencing, but no life jackets or signs

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Vancouver Giant named to Western Conference first-tier all-star team

Young hockey defenceman Bowen Byram is once again lauded for his outstanding efforts on the ice

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Punching Parkinson’s in the Fraser Valley

Rock Steady Boxing program, designed to help battle symptoms of Parkinson’s, coming to Abbotsford in April

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Most Read