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B.C. Lions collect first win of CFL season, dump Stampeders 26-17

Leos visit Blue Bombers in Winnipeg on Friday
B.C. Lions quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., left, passes while being pursued by Calgary Stampeders’ Micah Teitz during the first half of a CFL football game, in Vancouver, on Saturday, June 15, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vernon Adams Jr. threw for 277 yards and the host B.C. Lions downed the Calgary Stampeders 26-17 to collect their first win of the season on Saturday.

The quarterback connected on 17 of 29 attempts, including two touchdowns, and drove in another major for the Lions (1-1).

Jake Maier went 26 for 33 with 339 passing yards, two TDs and one interception as Calgary (1-1) took its first loss of the CFL campaign.

The Lions’ defence was effective throughout the game, sacking Maier four times and registering five tackles for a loss.

Kicker Sean Whyte made two field goals for B.C., including a 53-yard strike, while Calgary’s Rene Parades was successful on a 13-yard attempt.

Football wasn’t the only show at B.C. Place on Saturday — rapper 50 Cent performed before kickoff, singing hits such as “In da Club” and “Candy Shop” for the announced crowd of 53,788.

Several players and coaching staff came out of the locker rooms to watch the performance.

Maier, who was named the league’s top offensive player for his performance against Hamilton last week, continued his solid play early in Saturday’s game.

The quarterback sailed a 25-yard pass to Marken Michel midway through the first quarter, then followed up by sending the receiver a 10-yard toss just steps from the goal line. Michel waltzed in to complete the touchdown and Parades hit the convert, giving Calgary a 7-0 lead at the end of the first.

Early in the second frame, Adams scrambled out of the pocket and lobbed an eight-yard toss to Justin McInnis in the end zone. Whyte’s kick was blocked, leaving the Lions trailing 7-6.

Maier sent a pass to Dedrick Mills minutes later, but the ball went off his fingers and B.C. linebacker Ben Hladik dove to scoop it up for an interception.

Hladik was a force for the Lions on Saturday, registering nine tackles and an interception.

Maier came into Saturday’s game riding a streak of five straight starts without getting picked off.

Calgary continued pushing and the Lions stymied the visitor’s efforts with a goal-line stand. The Stamps turned to Parades, who kicked a 13-yard field goal that boosted his side’s lead to 10-7 midway through the second quarter.

Adams responded by sailing a 28-yard pass to McInnis, then followed up with a giant lob to Hollins deep in the end zone. This time, Whyte made the convert and the Lions took a 14-10 lead into halftime.

The Stampeders’ offence got back to work early in the second half when Maier connected with a wide open Mills on a long bomb. The receiver took off down the field before Hladik took him out by the ankles. Maier completed the drive with a toss to Reggie Begelton deep in the end zone, restoring Calgary’s lead.

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The Lions levelled the score at 17-17 midway through the third with a 30-yard field goal from Whyte.

B.C. went up once again early in the fourth after Adams pitched a rainbow pass to Ayden Eberhardt for a 59-yard gain that set the Lions up with a first down in the red zone. The quarterback then muscled the ball in over the goal line for another major. Whyte’s convert attempt was blocked once again, leaving B.C. up 23-17.

Whyte went for a 53-yard field goal with 36 seconds left in the game, and booted the ball through the uprights to give the Lions a 26-17 victory.


B.C. wide receiver Jevon Cottoy left the game with a hamstring injury midway through the third quarter. He did not return to the game, instead standing on the sidelines and cheering with an ice bag strapped to the back of his leg. … The announced crowd of 53,788 set a new attendance record for a Lions’ home opener. The former mark of 43,501 dated back to 1984. … B.C. is celebrating its 70th season as a franchise and will host the Grey Cup in November.


The Lions will play the Blue Bombers in Winnipeg on Friday. The Stampeders are off next week and will host Winnipeg on June 29.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press