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Defence combines for 4 interceptions as B.C. Lions earn 15-9 CFL win over Calgary

QB Michael Reilly throws for 342 yards in winning effort
BC Lions quarterback Michael Reilly throws the ball during first-half CFL football action against the Calgary Stampeders in Calgary, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

A game-time decision to start for the B.C. Lions on Thursday, quarterback Mike Reilly led his team to a 15-9 win over the host Calgary Stampeders.

Reilly completed 26-of-33 passes for 342 yards and ran for a one-yard touchdown as the Lions (1-1) bounced back from a Week 1 road loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Takeru Yamasaki kicked a pair of field goals and a single for B.C., while James Butler ran for a two-point convert.

Looking to rebound from an opening week loss at home to the Toronto Argonauts, the Stampeders (0-2) had trouble all game generating any offence against the Lions and had to settle for three field goals by Rene Paredes. Calgary hadn’t lost two straight games to start a season since 2009.

Nursing a calf injury, quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell went 21-for-38 for 290 yards. He also threw four interceptions and the Stamps turned the ball over on downs once.

After going two-and-out on their first drive, the Lions had much better success marching down the field the second time around as Reilly completed four straight passes to four different receivers to get deep into Calgary territory.

Unfortunately for the Lions, they had to settle for a single as Yamasaki missed a 22-yard field goal wide to the left.

The Stamps then threatened to score on their next drive as Hergy Mayala hauled in a 14-yard catch from Mitchell, before the Calgary QB tossed a 35-yard strike to Richie Sindani for a big gain. After running back Ka’Deem Carey was brought down just short of a first down, the B.C. defence stood tall and forced the Stamps to turn the ball over on downs.

Yamasaki booted a 20-yard field goal as time expired in the first quarter to put B.C. up 4-0 before Paredes responded with a 48-yard kick through the uprights at 2:02 of the second quarter to get the Stamps on the scoreboard.

Reilly then capped off a six-play, 75-yard drive at the five-minute mark of the second by plunging into the end zone for a one-yard run. Butler scampered three yards across the goal line for a two-point convert to give the visitors a 12-3 lead.

READ MORE: B.C. Lions stage furious comeback but drop CFL opener 33-29 to Roughriders

Calgary had a great chance to get back in the game in the third quarter when Royce Metchie forced a fumble by B.C. receiver and former Stampeder Lemar Durant. Jonathan Moxey recovered the ball on the B.C. 40-yard line, but two plays later Lions linebacker Bo Lokombo picked off an errant pass by Mitchell to end the threat.

The Stamps managed to put together an eight-play, 51-yard drive late in the third quarter and into the fourth, but had to settle for another 48-yard field goal by Paredes.

After Yamasaki kicked a 29-yard field goal to give the Lions a 15-6 lead, the Stamps marched into the B.C. red zone once again, but the drive ended when KiAnte Hardin leapt in the air to pick off a pass by Mitchell in the end zone that was intended for Mayala.

Paredes kicked his third field goal of the game, from 20 yards out, with 2:47 remaining on the clock to pull the Stamps within six points.

The Stamps had one last chance to win the game on the final play of the game, but Mitchell couldn’t find an open receiver in the end zone on his desperation toss from midfield.

Laurence Heinen, The Canadian Press

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