Canadian Football League

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Lions perfect Canadian Football League season continues

The B.C. Lions extended their perfect CFL season with a little help from their opponents.
The Montreal Alouettes decided to go for a two-point convert to win Saturday night rather than play for the tie in regulation time, but the play misfired and the Lions are 11-0 to start the season after a 27-26 win.
Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo tried to hit Ben Cahoon in the end zone for the convert with 50 seconds remaining, but the pass was incomplete as Montreal was penalized for an illegal substitution.
"I was trying to win the game," said Montreal coach Don Matthews, whose club hasn't beaten the Lions since Aug. 21, 2000.
"It was very difficult to play offence with the crowd (noise). One play from the five yard line with that much time left, I thought we could get the two points. I thought that was a better chance.
"I called it. I tried to win the game. I thought it was a good call."
Defence and special teams set up three touchdown passes by quarterback Dave Dickenson.
The last one was 16 yards to wideout Jerel Myers to break a 20-20 tie with 2:10 remaining. The catch gave the Lions a club-record 11-0 start to the season.
"Let's give Montreal credit," said Dickenson who threw for more than 300 yards without an interception.
"They played us real well. If we didn't get the turnovers from our defence, we'd have taken it on the chin. Our guys made one more play than they did.
Dickenson said being undefeated is great, "but it's not what we're shooting for.
"If we win this game we know if we go up to Edmonton next week and win there, we're looking real good for the West."
What proved to be the winning drive before 36,066 fans, the largest crowd of the season, was set up by a 45-yard kickoff return by Aaron Lockett.
However, Montreal closed to within a point with 50 seconds remaining when Calvillo fired a three-yard touchdown pass to Dave Stala.
Earlier, Dickenson fired six yards to Geroy Simon after a special teams fumble recovery in the first half and hit Jason Clermont on a three-yard pass for a second TD in the third quarter for a 17-5 lead.
Clermont's touchdown came after the defence gave Dickenson a short field at the Montreal 19 yard line when Tony Tiller stripped the ball from Calvillo and Tyrone Williams recovered it.
Defensive end Brent Johnson said the Lions were fortunate to win but good teams find a way.
"This wasn't in the plans," he said of the Als' failed two-point convert.
"But we're a good team. We let some things happen on defence that we shouldn't have but our offence sucked it up for us.
Calvillo rallied his club with three fourth-quarter touchdowns, the other TD passes going to Cahoon and Terry Vaughn.
Lions kicker Duncan O'Mahony added two field goals, two converts and a single. Montreal got a field goal and two converts from Damon Duval plus a two-point convert and a safety.
The Lions haven't lost in 14 regular-season games dating back to last year, matching the 1954-55 Edmonton Eskimos for second on the CFL's all-time consecutive victories list.
The 1948 Calgary Stampeders had a perfect 12-0 season and won 22 consecutive games over 1948-49.
The win consolidated the Lions hold on first place in the West. They lead the Eskimos by eight points but have two of their final seven games at Commonwealth Stadium.
The loss dropped the inconsistent Alouettes to 5-6, the third time they have been below .500 this season. The Als needed a victory to keep pace with Toronto but trail the East Division-leading Argonauts by four points.
Neither offence could get untracked in the first half with special teams either doing the scoring or setting up the only touchdown of the opening 30 minutes which gave the Lions an 11-2 lead.
Montreal kick returner Ezra Landry had run an O'Mahony punt back 27 yards late in the second quarter when he was hit and stripped of the ball by Otis Floyd.
Lyle Green of the Lions was the last to touch the ball before it went out of bounds, giving B.C. possession near the Montreal 41 yard line, leading to the Simon TD reception.
The Lions opened the scoring in the second minute with a 30-yard O'Mahony field goal also set up by a special teams play.
Aaron Lockett took the opening kickoff 10 yards upfield before flipping the ball to Antonio Warren who completed the 78-yard return.
Notes: Stala, the CFL's leading Canadian receiver, dropped behind SB Cahoon on the Alouettes' depth chart. ... Cahoon returned after missing four games with wrist and elbow injuries. ... Lions QB Casey Printers, the CFL's MVP last season, has made good progress rehabbing his injured shoulder, says coach Wally Buono who reports an increase in his range of motion. ... the Lions aided hurricane Katrina relief with $2 from each walk-up ticket sold, canvassing fans and partial proceeds from a pre-game barbecue.


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