VANCOUVER — Geroy Simon became the league`s all-time leading receiver as he and the BC Lions defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 33-16 in a rematch of last-year`s Grey Cup.
The Lions picked up where they left off last season after winning a Grey Cup over the Blue Bombers, executing a five-play, 91-yard drive topped off by an eight-yard Travis Lulay quarterback scamper.
The Bombers would get on the board a few possessions later after faking a punt and DB Brandon Stewart took the snap on an end-around for a 24-yard gain to lead to a Justin Palardy field goal.
The Lions would follow up when Paul McCallum hit a field goal of his own.
The Bombers entered halftime down 13-3 but the deficit was the least of their worries as starting quarterback Buck Pierce, who has had his fair share of injuries in his career, went down after sustaining a hit on a Lions quarterback sack.
Pierce would not return and give way to Alex Brink in the second half. He finished 3 of 9 for 11 yards and no touchdowns.
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Brink would get his team’s offence in rhythm when he hit veteran WR Terrance Edwards with a 13-yard touchdown strike to cut into the Lions lead. BC would extend it by adding another field goal and the score would sit at 16-10 for the Leos.
The Lions would attempt to break the game open when Lulay dodged a few defenders for his second rushing touchdown of the game. The major was set up by a huge punt return by kick returner Tim Brown.
It was then time for Simon make history. Lulay aired out a pass down the near sideline for Simon who made the 56-yard grab to move ahead of Milt Stegall on the CFL’s all-time receiving list.
Entering his 14th CFL season, the Maryland alum needed just 67 yards to pass recently-named Hall of Famer and former Bomber Stegall’s career total of 15,153.
Simon began his career in Winnipeg in 1999 before moving on to BC, where he won a Grey Cup along with most outstanding player honours in 2006. Last November, he added a second championship, playing an instrumental role in the Lions’ sixth Grey Cup win in team history.
Commissioner Mark Cohon and Lions General Manager Wally Buono were both on hand after the record-breaking catch, as the game was stopped for a ceremony to recognize the achievement.
“I am very proud to achieve this milestone,” said Simon.
“My sincere thanks go out to my family and both current and former teammates who have been a big part of this record. Their unwavering support has been key to my success on the field. I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge Milt Stegall whose leadership and work ethic had a significant effect on me early in my career. I am honoured to have my name associated with his and Milt’s support has been inspirational. As well, my thanks to fans of the BC Lions, it was a thrill to achieve this milestone at home and I am grateful for your enthusiasm.”
Simon`s running mate, Arland Bruce lll, would put the game out of reach when he snagged a 36-yard touchdown to put the Leos in control at 33-10.
The Bombers would inch a bit closer when rookie WR Chris Matthews scored his first touchdown on a toss by Alex Brink to make the score 33-16 Lions.