The B.C. Lions came into this game with a chance to go 3-0 and assert themselves as early leaders in this CFL season. After convincing wins over Calgary and Hamilton, the Lions were looking to stay hot as the Argonauts came into town off of their first win of the season, on the road in Saskatchewan.
Early on the two teams stalled on their opening drives, until the Lions launched another one of their great plays that has pulled them to a 2-0 record so far. Jonathan Jennings threw up a 35-yard pass that was spectacularly caught by Emmanuel Arcenaux to put the Lions on the verge of the end zone. The Lions converted and were up 6-0. B.C. failed to convert on the two point conversion and the scoreline stayed as so.
Later on in the first quarter, Liram Hajrullahu and the Argonauts responded with a 38-yard field goal to make the score 6-3. Even after an early field goal miss by Hajrullahu in the quarter, the Argonauts were later able to strip the ball – newcomer Shawn Lemon asserted himself in his first game with the club.
Hajrullahu later tied the game on a 30-yard field goal. The Argos drove relentlessly at the end of the second quarter to get back into field goal range again. A clutch run by Brandon Whitaker got him forced outside with 4fourseconds left to set up Hajrullahu on the last play of the first half. He was successful and the Argonauts went ahead 9-6 with the 47-yard field goal.
The Argonauts were managing the clock well on offense and combined with a nifty 32-yard dash by Brandon Whitaker. The Argos were again in range of Liram Hajrullahu and he did not disappoint, draining a 24-yarder for a 12-6 lead.
On the very next play Jonathan Jennings committed the Lions’ third turnover of the night. Keon Raymond intercepted his pass attempt and four plays later the ball was through their uprights as the Argos opened up a 15-6 lead off of Hajrullahu’s foot.
Late into the third, the B.C. Lions brought Travis Lulay into the game, him being a famous figure in B.C. after leading the team to a Grey Cup in 2011. He did not provide much of a spark as the Lions continued to struggle on offense.
Going into the final quarter, the Argos were playing a terrific road game, constantly being a relentless bunch on both sides of the ball, making sure they got points from their possessions and managed the clock well to keep B.C. on the ropes.
Ricky Ray was showing his great veteran poise and leadership as he attempted to lead his team down the field to take control of the game. While being tackled he still managed to shovel the ball to Whitaker, who took the ball for a first down. Later, Ray was locked in as he completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Torey Gurley. The Hajrullahu convert made the score 22-6 to the Argonauts – against a team that came in with a chance to go 3-0.
The Lions were now staring an embarrassing loss in the face, but came out and responded on their next possession. Lulay himself decided to show off his arm, passing for 66-yards on the next drive that culminated with a 15-yard Anthony Allen touchdown. After finding Nic Moore for two points on the convert the score was 22-14. The Argos responded with a 39-yard field goal by Hajrullahu to go 25-14 up.
The Lions needed points in a hurry and began driving down the field. They were moving the ball well until T.J. Heath picked off Lulay with just under a minute left to seal the win for the Argos.
The Argonauts have a lot of positives to build on this game. The largest being that Ricky Ray surpassed 53,000 career passing yards in his hall of fame career. They will have a shot at the CFL’s only remaining unbeaten team, the Ottawa Redblacks on July 13 at 7:30pm EST. The Lions will have until July 16 to think about this one, as they take on the Roughriders on that day at 7:00pm EST.