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Lions dispatch Stampeders in season opener

Lions bring back a familiar face and get a familiar result.

After the Jeff Tedford experiment last year, the B.C. Lions were looking for a new voice on the sidelines. It appears what’s old is new again in B.C. as they returned to CFL Hall Of Fame coach Wally Buono, who came back out of the general manager’s box to the sideline where he helped win a Grey Cup as recently as 2011.

After both teams started the first quarter rather sluggishly, the Stampeders kicker, Rene Parades, attempted a 47 yard field goal attempt that went wide but was conceded for a single point by B.C. to make score 1-0 in Calgary’s favor. This would be all the scoring that the first quarter had to offer.

Rene Parades added an early field goal to make it 4-0 Calgary in the second. There would be no major scores in the game until Calgary quarterback Bo-Levi Mitchell found Kamar Jorden on an 18 yard touchdown play. The kick after was missed by Parades and the scored stayed at 10-0. Richi Leone added a field goal 12 seconds before half time to make it 10-3 to Calgary.

Both starters, Bo-Levi Mitchell and Jonathan Jennings, were having having tough starts to the game as the defense came to the forefront in the contest.

With nine minutes left in the third – Calgary leading 10-3 – Richi Leone added a field goal to cut the lead to 10-6. Later in the quarter however, Bo-Levi Mitchell showed great poise in leading Calgary down the field on a touchdown drive, culminating with former Lion Jerome Messam running a touchdown in from two yards out. The successful convert made it 17-6 for Calgary.

With B.C. Down by 11, things may have seemed bleak, but head coach Wally Buono has seen this situation many times throughout his CFL career and helped inspire his team to go on a spirited drive of their own, ending with a Chris Rainey one yard touchdown run.  

Moving on to the fourth, on what seemed like a standard Calgary punt by Rob Maver, the special teams group could not make the tackles well enough on Chris Rainey as he took the ball and returned it 72 yards for a B.C. touchdown. Jennings went for two on the convert and found Nick Moore for the successful conversion – making the score 20-17 to the Lions. Calgary has one of the top squads in the CFL, and even after being down they were not out. They couldn’t quite muster any other points bar a Rene Parades single with just under four minutes left. The B.C Lions defense held strong to pull in the 20-18 win.

For Lions head coach Wally Buono its yet another win, his 255th all time win, and the value of having a four time CFL Coach of the Year and seven time Grey Cup champion on the sideline cannot be understated. All Wally Buono does is win and his team showed that in their opening match, playing right to the final whistle.

The Calgary Stampeders must regroup in a hurry as they are hosting an important Canada Day game, and do not want to disappoint the Calgary faithful in their home opener.

B.C. heads to Hamilton to take on the Tiger-Cats at the Tim Horton’s Field on July 1, at 7:00pm EST. Calgary heads home for their home opener also on July 1 at 10:00pm 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.

Lions dispatch Stampeders in season opener

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