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B.C. Lions hold on to dispatch Hamilton

The B.C. Lions made sure that Zach Collaros' return to action was an unsuccessful one.

Jonathon Jennings is quickly becoming a star in this league. The gun slinging quarterback has shown a great arm and is becoming the leader of a dangerous B.C. offense. Zach Collaros made his return to game action in this contest. His Tiger-Cats were coming off their most embarrassing loss of the season, a 37-11 drubbing at the hands of Winnipeg, and should have been motivated to respond to such a loss.

Early on, it was all B.C.

On only Hamilton’s second play from scrimmage of the game, Loucheiz Purifoy sacked Collaros hard and the ball popped loose to put B.C. in great field position.

Jonathon Jennings wasted no time, airing out a 38-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Burnham and as they have done so often this season; the Lions went for two. Jeremiah Johnson ran it in for two to make the score 8-0 early for the Lions.

Brett Maher answered with a 27-yard field goal to cut the lead to 8-3. He then added another one about five minutes later to make the score a slim 8-6 lead for B.C.

A Richie Leone punt single made the score 9-6.

On their next drive, the Lions were once again able to generate a major score as Jeremiah Johnson ran it in from six-yards out. After the kick convert the score was 16-6 for B.C. going into the second quarter.

Hamilton just couldn’t get anything going as Maher conceded a safety early in the second for a 18-6 B.C. lead.

The Lions were firing on all cylinders offensively and didn’t stop there. Jennings found Emmanuel Arcenaux on a spectacular 35-yard touchdown pass. Despite Arcenaux being draped by three Hamilton defenders, he still came up with the touchdown grab. After the convert the score was a commanding 25-6 lead.

Hamilton was in desperate need of an answer and Zach Collaros led a solid drive down the field where Jeremiah Masoli took over on the short yardage plays. Masoli ran the ball in from one-yard out to give Hamilton some much-needed life.

That didn’t seem to faze the Lions much, who came down the field again and got yet another touchdown, this time from Jeremiah Johnson recovered a fumbled snap by his own quarterback for a touchdown. After the convert it was a deadening 32-12 lead going into halftime.

Once again, Hamilton found themselves trailing big at half time and Zach Collaros had looked to show a bit of understandable rust in his first start in almost a year. This team has shown big comeback wins before but only time would tell for this Hamilton team. B.C. on the other hand was like a big orange machine, almost scoring at will in the first half and making the opposition pay for their mistakes.

A very different Hamilton team came out to play in the second half.

Both teams failed to score on their opening possessions of the half, but Hamilton was able to come up with the first big play.

Emmanuel Davis picked off Jennings at the Hamilton 33 and returned the ball 74-yards to give the offense a stellar field position.

Zach Collaros later found Luke Tasker on a six-yard touchdown pass to cut into the B.C. lead. After the convert the score was 32-19.

Richie Leone added a punt single not too long after the Hamilton touchdown to make it a 33-19 game.

Brett Maher answered with a 42-yard field goal to make it 33-22. Hamilton would however concede a safety not too long after, making it a 35-22 game for B.C. heading into the fourth and final quarter.

Fan favourite Adam Bighill picked off Zach Collaros on the first play of the fourth quarter to ignite the crowd at B.C. Place, this later led to a 27-yard Leone field goal to make the score 38-22.

Hamilton was making a furious push back in this game. Zach Collaros was showing glimpses of his great form from last year as he led a six-play touchdown drive that ended with a beautifully timed 31-yard touchdown strike to Terrance Tolliver. After the convert the game was just a two-point convert touchdown away from a tie-game.

Hamilton was looking for another big play to spark them, and they got just that. A wide right field goal was returned 125-yards by speedy returner Brandon Banks, and after Collaros found Tasker on a three-yard convert pass, the score was shockingly 38-38 as the Tiger-Cats had clawed their way back into contention in this game.

B.C., not to be outdone, put some clutch plays of their own together until Jennings found Arcenaux on a 30-yard spectacular catch and run play to once again put B.C. back in the lead. After the convert the score was 45-38 for the Lions and the score would stay that way to the end of the game as Hamilton could not muster any more points.

Even with the second half surge, it was still yet another loss for Hamilton. Albeit, they played very well in the third and fourth quarters of this game as they turned what could have been a humiliating loss into a nail biter. Once again though, Hamilton started off very slow, a disturbing trend in their play as of late. Coming back from huge deficits is not a stable recipe for success, especially in the wide open offensive play of the CFL, and Hamilton must correct their starts to give themselves a better chance in games. Zach Collaros performed admirably in his return, but he just could not find a way to win as he went 20/32 with 331-yards, two touchdowns and one interception on the night.

The Lions, while nearly slipping up in this one, showed great poise in sticking to their game plan as it eventually led them to victory. Emmanuel Arcenaux continues to tear it up right now with a two touchdown performance and 105-yards receiving. Jonathon Jennings continues to look like a budding superstar with a 20/32 performance accompanied by 306-yards with three touchdown passes and one interception.

B.C. will host Calgary on August 19 at 10:00pm EST while Hamilton return home to host Saskatchewan on August 20 at 7:00pm EST.

Riccardo Di Stefano

RealSport's Lead CFL writer and also a contributor of NHL content. Riccardo currently pursues many media interests as a freelance Master Control Operator for Bell Media in Canada while also running his own, now affiliated stream on Twitch at Twitch.tv/RicD55.

B.C. Lions hold on to dispatch Hamilton

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