Big games bring out best in Leos and fans

To be the best you have to beat the best, and in the West Division right now that bar is held high by the Calgary Stampeders.

A dominant running back in Jon Cornish, a savvy veteran quarterback in Kevin Glenn, a solid receiving corps led by the emotional Nik Lewis and a tough defense represented by the talented Charleston Hughes.

“They are the best team in the league right now without a doubt,” said Lions quarterback Travis Lulay. “They’re balanced, disciplined and opportunistic. It’s going to take a tremendous effort on Saturday night, but these are the games you get pumped up about and we’re very excited to get on the field.”

The Lions come off a bye week and head into a busy stretch with games on Saturday and then again next Thursday in Montreal.

“Every team faces short weeks so you’ll never hear us use that as an excuse,” affirms head coach Mike Benevides. “We have a big challenge on Saturday night and a quick turnaround for next week, but we’re taking this one play, one game and one week at a time.”

Calgary comes stomping into BC with a big division win over Saskatchewan last week. The victory pulled the Red and White even with the ‘Riders in the standings, but the Leos sit just a game back and arguably, have yet to put an entire 60-minute win together.

“We have four wins and I’m extremely proud of our guys,” says Benevides. “We’ve won back to back games versus Edmonton. We’ve won a game on the road in tough weather and we’ve won all three home games this year, so you’ll never hear me criticize a win.”

While the Lions do have four wins under their belt they’ll need to beat the Stamps and ‘Riders in head-to-head matchups if they want to host a postseason game in the comfy confines of BC Place in November.

“There’s no doubt that playing at home is an advantage,” admits Benevides. “Home field in late November is earned and we’ll have to earn it over the next 12 weeks. The first step is winning at home Saturday and I’m excited to be in our house for this one.”

Having lost just one regular season game since returning to BC Place in 2011, the Leos will look for every edge over a club that’s beaten them three straight times including the 2012 Western Final and the opening game of the 2013 regular season.

“Our fans make it very tough on opposing teams and we’re counting on them in a big way Saturday night,” says cornerback Dante Marsh. “We’re having a great week of practice and I know we’ll come out ready but a procedure penalty here, a missed signal there, all of it can add up over the course of 60 minutes so their role in our success is huge too.”

BC Lions Fans are the Best.
-Photo by Jeff Vinnick / from bclions.com

As it stands, rain showers appear to be in the forecast Saturday which might mean a closed roof at BC Place which will only add to the decibel level inside. While GM Wally Buono hasn’t been spotted doing a rain dance this week, it’s no secret the former Lions head coach loves a closed dome against the team’s biggest rivals.

“Noise is a factor for any visiting team in any stadium,” says Buono. “Here it’s just amplified that much more given the acoustics of the building and the spirit of our fans. It’s unlike any other stadium in the league. It’s just special.”

Saturday’s game has plenty on the line for both clubs and is looking more and more like the kind of encounter both teams want to feed off of moving forward according to Benevides.

“There are a handful of pivotal games on your schedule each season and this is one of those games.”

A great rivalry, the best stadium in the league and an atmosphere unlike any other; there’s no better place to be Saturday than BC Place for football fans.

-from bclions.com website