Stampeders crush Lions 35-9, set up date with Eskimos
Ahead of the Western Semi-Final matchup between the BC Lions and Calgary Stampeders, CFL on TSN panelist Jock Climie gave the Lions some incredible “bulletin board” material.
Every single member of that BC team was mad and felt disrespected following Climie’s comments – therefore many, *including* Jock Climie, thought the underdogs could catch the defending champs off guard and walk out of McMahon Stadium with a win.
Quarterback Jonathon Jennings had lit the league on fire heading into this game but defensive coordinator Rich Stubler has assembled another stout defense that only allowed an average of 19.2 points per game during the regular season. And injuries don’t seem to matter with this group, as they’ve played long stretches without veterans Charleston Hughes, Juwan Simpson and Joe Burnett. Most other teams in the CFL would be in shambles (i.e. Saskatchewan), but the depth in Calgary is special.
The Stampeders even lost centre Pierre Lavertu and left guard Shane Bergman to injuries, forcing defensive players in Quinn Smith and Junior Turner to switch sides. Both players played like they belonged there and were able to keep Bo Levi Mitchell on his feet – even though Turner had never played offensive line before!
Jennings ended up going down in the second quarter with a collarbone injury, forcing Travis Lulay to come into the game to try and will the Lions back into it. The game was essentially over by that point with the Stamps taking advantage of BC’s mistakes and scoring 14 points off of turnovers. The Lions offensive line couldn’t protect the quarterback and the defensive line couldn’t take advantage of a patched up defensive line. Calgary was just plain *better* on their way to a 35-9 drubbing.
Eric Rogers found his “neighbourhood” twice with two scores and Messam rumbled for 66 yards on the ground, making Jon Cornish’s absence not seem so significant.
BC did have a few good games to close out the season, but now Calgary will be heading north on Queen Elizabeth II Highway to play their provincial rivals in Edmonton. The Eskimos have beaten the Stampeders in two straight and have spent the past two weeks getting healthy.
Next Sunday’s West Final will be an old-school, hard-hitting, smashmouth affair. Do up the chinstraps and get ready for the Battle of Alberta to be taken to another level!
– written by Travis Currah