B.C. Lions visit to Saskatchewan Roughriders a ‘playoff dress rehearsal’: coach

A win or tie for Saskatchewan on Saturday would also guarantee the team home-field advantage

B.C. Lions coach Wally Buono knows his club will be heading into a ”tough environment” when they visit the Saskatchewan Roughriders this weekend.

“You’re on the road. You know it’s going to be really loud, they’re going to be really aggressive. So it’s a fun game,” Buono said after practice on Thursday.

Both the Riders (11-6) and Lions (9-7) have already earned playoff spots, but the final two weeks of the regular season could sway the standings.

A win or tie for Saskatchewan on Saturday would also guarantee the team home-field advantage.

The intensity of the Lions-Riders matchup may be a hint at what’s to come, Buono said.

“I’ve already sold this game as a dress rehearsal for the playoffs,” he said, noting that the his squad may well face a tough road game to kick off the post season.

The Riders are the only team the Lions have yet to win against this year, and the only squad that has beat them in Vancouver.

The two teams met on Aug. 25, when Saskatchewan snatched a 24-21 win.

Buono said after that game that he may not have the right players to win. The Lions have only dropped one game since.

The team has been playing with playoff-level intensity for the last seven or eight weeks, said quarterback Travis Lulay.

“Every game has felt like it’s the biggest game of the year. So that works in our favour in terms of preparing for a high-pressure game,” he said.

Saskatchewan’s known to get between the quarterback and the ball, with defensive lineman Charleston Hughes leading the league with 15 sacks.

Hughes missed last week’s game after he was charged on Oct. 11 with impaired driving and failing to supply a breath sample for analysis. He told reporters this week that he’s “embarrassed” by the situation and trying to keep his “mind in the right place.”

Hughes is due in court on the charges on Wednesday, but could be back in the lineup this weekend.

Lulay said the Lions are ready for the Riders’ defence.

“You respect their pass rushers, you respect their guys, but you don’t think about the stats,” he said. ”We just have to be consistently balanced offensively to minimize those sack opportunities. And I just have to be decisive and find ways to move and slide when I need to.”

Meanwhile, B.C.’s Shawn Lemon said the Lions defensive crew is focused on playing fast-assignment football and making Riders quarterback Zach Collaros uncomfortable.

“They’re a very good team. They’ve been winning their past few games. They’re a playoff team so I think it’s a good test for us,” said the defensive lineman.

The Riders will have their hands full when it comes to the Lions defence, said Saskatchewan coach Chris Jones.

The defenders make impact plays and are tough to block, he said.

“We just need to handle our business this week and play a very good B.C. team,” Jones said.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

U.S. tug firm to be sentenced for 2016 spill in B.C. First Nation’s territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

No delivery services hard on local families

New parents Candace Knudsen and Bjorn Samuelsen spent five weeks away from home

UPDATED: Vehicle strike likely caused death of grizzly cubs

The cubs were discovered on June 30 on Thorsen Creek Road

B.C. to begin increasing coastal log export charges

New fees based on harvest cost, cedar no longer exempt

Three more earthquakes off north and central B.C. coasts

No tsunami or damage reported after the aftershocks in near Bella Bella, Port Hardy and Haida Gwaii

VIDEO: Reports say Lashana Lynch is the new 007

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Bond one last time

Nine kittens and cats rescued after being locked in bins in northern B.C.: SPCA

SPCA says cats were starving, and matted with feces and urine

High-speed rail link would run from Vancouver to Seattle in under 1 hour: study

Annual ridership is projected to exceed three million

ICBC insurance renewals get more complicated this year

Crash history, driver risk prompt more reporting requirements

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Asylum figures show overall slower rate of irregular crossings into Canada

Between January and June 2019, a total of 6,707 asylum seekers crossed irregularly into Canada

Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

Most Read