B.C. Lions look to stop Stanback, stymie Montreal Alouettes’ run game

B.C. already faced Montreal once this season, dropping a 21-16 decision back on Sept. 6

The B.C. Lions may be looking for their third win in a row, but coach DeVone Claybrooks says his team still has plenty room for improvement.

“We still haven’t played a perfect game by my standards,” he said on Friday. ”We’re just trying to get better and trying to win the next game.”

The Lions’ next test will be much tougher than their previous two outings — wins over the free-falling Ottawa Redblacks. On Saturday, the Lions (3-10) host the Montreal Alouettes (7-5), who have won four of their past five.

B.C. already faced Montreal once this season, dropping a 21-16 decision back on Sept. 6.

But this week, the Als will be without quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., who was suspended by the CFL after swinging a helmet at Winnipeg’s Adam Bighill in Montreal’s 38-37 comeback win last week.

Alouettes coach Khari Jones said missing his starting QB is “unfortunate” but the club accepts it and will move on with Matt Shiltz at the helm.

“We’ll be OK,” he told reporters in Montreal this week. ”These guys rally together really well. I have all the faith in the world in (Shiltz) and I’m excited to see him get out there and play. He’s been practising really well.”

The Lions haven’t been thinking too much about who’ll be tossing for their opponents, Claybrooks said.

“We can’t control who plays,” he said. “All I’m worried about is what we do. … If we focus on us, execute and do our thing, we’ll be fine.”

Shiltz has slotted into two games this season, completing 11-of-16 attempts for 107 passing yards, and said this week that he’s ready to go out and do whatever’s asked of him on a given play.

“Whether that’s hand the ball off 40 times a game or have 50 pass attempts, I just go out there, read the defence and get the ball to the open guy,” he said.

“When you think about it that way, it’s a pretty simple game so I’m going to go out there, do everything I can to move the ball down the field, protect the football and hopefully come out on top.”

Claybrooks called the 26-year-old Butler University alum ”a mobile kid (who) can make all the throws,” but said the Lions will be focusing on shutting down the Als’ run game.

Running back William Stanback already has 748 rushing yards and five touchdowns for the Als in 10 games this season.

He could also get some help from former Lion Jeremiah Johnson, who’s expected to be back in the lineup after missing two games with a concussion.

B.C. will also have to work around what Lions quarterback Mike Reilly called “a very good defence.”

“They’re not really the team that’s going to have busted coverages and breakdowns and things like that that you’re going to be able to take a bunch of big shots over the top,” he said.

Instead, Reilly expects that his offence will have to make long, sustained drives.

That task has become a bit easier for the veteran quarterback in recent weeks, thanks in part to a stronger offensive line.

While the Lions allowed 42 sacks in the first 10 games of the season, Reilly has been hauled down just four times over the past three games.

He credited “fantastic” protection across the field with allowing him to make big plays.

“I think we’ve all done a better job on protection, but certainly it starts up front (with the offensive line),” he said. “Protecting really well, but also getting the run game going. That always makes it a lot easier on the back end.”

MONTREAL ALOUETTES (7-5) AT B.C. LIONS (3-10)

Saturday, B.C. Place

PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS: The Lions’ faint hope of a post-season berth could be snuffed out this week if they lose to the Alouettes and the Edmonton Eskimos beat the Ottawa Redblacks.

SCORING BIG: Montreal has 24.8 points per game heading into Saturday’s contest, good for second in the league. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers lead the CFL with 25.8.

TOUGH CROWD: The Alouettes haven’t won at B.C. Place since Aug. 20, 2015. Still, Montreal has been decent on the road this season, going 3-3.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mission Secondary Theatre presents Mamma Mia!

Production takes place at the Clarke Theatre from Feb. 27 to Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. each night

SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s fourth annual Open Mosque Day

Abbotsford Islamic Centre opens its doors to educate others

Two prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase across Fraser Valley

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Arson charge laid in connection to Mission Canadian Tire fire

Charges of Arson with disregard for human life have been laid against 26-year-old Quince Chalifoux

Suspect rams Mission RCMP while attempting to flee

Integrated Police Dog Service called in to help locate and take man into custody

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

High-risk sex offender cuts off ankle bracelet, on the loose in Vancouver: police

Vancouver police said Kirstjon Olson, 38, is a provincial sex offender with 27 court-ordered conditions

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read