Canadian Football League

Sunday, July 17, 2005

B.C. remains only undefeated team in Canadian Football League

The B.C. Lions continue to do things the hard way, but they are still the only undefeated team in the CFL.
"We haven't made anything easy and hopefully we build on this," said quarterback Dave Dickenson, who threw an interception in the final minute of a 30-22 victory over the defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts on Friday night.
"We need to learn from it. But you know, we've made our mistakes and we're still winning. That's the key."
B.C. needed a third down sack of Toronto quarterback Damon Allen by Nautyn McKay-Loeschar with 56 seconds remaining and a fumble recovery by Barrin Simpson with 40 seconds left after Dickenson's errant throw.
The Lions were coasting with a 23-1 lead early in the third quarter before Toronto scored 14 points within 36 seconds thanks to an Allen-engineered touchdown drive and a high snap recovered by defensive end Jonathan Brown.
Last week B.C. kick returner Jerel Myers fumbled in the end zone to give the Ottawa Renegades hope late in a 37-29 loss to the Lions.
"The way these games are ending, it's tough to be too positive," said Dickenson, who connected on 26 of 37 passes for 362 yards and three touchdowns as B.C. improved to 3-0.
"I gave them (Toronto) a chance there but I guess a win's a win. Toronto's a good team but man, are we making it tough on ourselves."
Still, Dickenson was happy with the Lions' sweep over the team that beat them in last season's Grey Cup.
"When you play the defending champs for two of the first three games you're hoping for a split. To get a sweep, it says something about this team."
Dickenson, who was sacked 12 times in the Lions' first two games, got better protection Friday and connected on a 73-yard bomb to Geroy Simon with 15 seconds left in the first half.
"It's just taking a shot here and there and we needed that one at the end of the half," Dickenson said.
Simon led all receivers with 140 yards on six catches.
"We know they're a cagey group that knows what's coming but we changed some things up," he said of the Toronto secondary. "Dave had time so we (receivers) had time to get downfield."
Tony Simmons and Jason Clermont also caught touchdown tosses while Duncan O'Mahony made two of four field goal attempts and added a single and three converts. Argo kicker Noel Prefontaine conceded a safety.
Rookie Hakim Hill plunged two yards for the Argos' first touchdown after Allen set it up with a 32-yard pass to Tony Miles. Brown scooped up the high snap on the 14 yard line en route to the end zone and R. Jay Soward gathered in a nine-yard pass from Allen.
Prefontaine had a single and three converts.
The Lions' defence also responded with a season-high eight sacks - three by Brent Johnson - while the offensive line allowed four.
"It was way closer than it should have been," Johnson said. "We came out in the second half and choked but that's going to happen some times and we sucked it up."
Allen, who turns 42 this month, felt the pressure of the defensive rush but completed 26 of 40 passes for 295 yards.
"They did a good job of pressuring the quarterback," said Allen who led Toronto to a last-minute 27-26 win over Saskatchewan last week.
"They were getting upfield and not allowing me to get containment. Obviously we didn't do a good job as a unit of helping our O-linemen."
He said the wild fininshes are simply part of CFL football.
"It was the same situation last week for us but this time we didn't come through," said Allen who is 3-3 against the Lions since he was traded to Toronto three years ago.
Toronto coach Mike Clemons said turnovers were costly.
"We're making too many mistakes to beat good football teams consistently," he said. "The challenge is we're having too many turnovers ... to have consistent success. We had enough offence to be productive."
Notes: Chris Hoople of the Lions suffered a dislocated shoulder in the first half and did not return ... the Argos arrived in Vancouver on Wednesday, a day earlier than usual ... Toronto running back John Avery stayed home to nurse a groin injury ... Canadian linebacker Ray Mariusz made his first CFL start for the Grey Cup champs ... linebacker Carl Kidd and offensive lineman Bobby Singh were activated from the injury list by the Lions ... the game matched the CFL's top two passing offences.


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