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In the visitor’s locker room at Rogers Centre on Sunday, Stefan Logan stopped backfield mate Rolly Lumbala to talk about his night.
“Hey Rolly, you know what I said about last time? When I came here, I reeled them?” he said. “I was just short of that game, just short of what I had in 2008. I could have got that at the end, but I let Timmy [Brown] get a little bit.”
Lumbala lets out a cheer and a hybrid fist-pump/high-five/handshake follows.
The veteran BC Lions running back doesn’t realize that in the final minute of his team’s 33-17 win over the Toronto Argonauts that he did get the 13 yards he needed to set both a new season high and, more importantly, a new career high six years after his standout rookie season.
He also doesn’t realize the output will earn him the league’s Offensive Player of the Week nod on Tuesday.
Logan had 19 carries for 145 yards and a touchdown, besting his tally of 144 yards on 18 rushes from Oct. 3, 2008.
The pint-sized powerhouse chipped in 49 receiving yards while the Lions’ defence held future Hall of Famer Ricky Ray to 181 yards passing and one touchdown. Tim Brown, Logan’s teammate, became the all-time kick returner in the B.C franchise’s history with his 80 yards, and added 169 in punt returns.
It’s a clear understatement to say the visiting team’s fifth win of the season – the franchise’s 500th all-time – was a great one. All you need to do is feel the energy leaking out of the small space past the end zone to know that these Lions are on a roll.
For the sixth straight contest, the Lions made 20-plus rushing attempts and this time they did it without starting running back Andrew Harris.
“I’m very happy because our DNA is to run the ball, maintain the time of possession, it’s who we are,” head coach Mike Benevides said. “We’re not going to change based on who’s coming in. It’s basically the next man up and we’ve got to perform.”
“It’s very important to us, and to me personally, that we keep that balanced attack and as we grow as a football team and go into the end of August, it’s going to matter a lot.”
BC is the third team in the West to collect its fifth win and Benevides is ready for the dog fight ahead.
“I’m proud of our guys,” he said. “When you take a look at the West and you take a look at the rest of the universe, we’ve got to keep stride with those guys. It’s going to get to a point now where West plays West and it should be a ton of fun.”
The 33-year-old Logan will welcome back Harris into the mix though as the return of the league’s leader in combined yards (781) and rushing (410) could very well mean a roster crunch ahead of taking on the Saskatchewan Roughriders next Sunday.
“We know when he comes back next week he’s going to come back strong and we’re going to keep this tandem that we have,” Logan said. “As people can see, we have three guys instead of two. We’ve got Andrew, me and Tim Brown, and that’s what we’re about.”
Though he looked like a perennial All-Star on Sunday, Logan was starting his first game since his rookie season in 2008. The transition was seamless and the offensive line fended off the Argos while allowing Logan to work his magic on the field.
“I told the coaches, ‘I know Andrew went down, but there will be no drop off in that backfield,’” he said. “I wanted them to have the confidence and have faith in what we’re doing back there and trust me to know that I’m going to do my best to help us win.”
There’s hardly a reason not to believe.
When Logan left South Dakota as an All-American, he owned 17 school records. After his 2008 season in B.C., he enjoyed four seasons of NFL play between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions before returning to the Lions in 2013 in a backup role, appearing in four games and amassing 236 yards all season.
Logan brings an uncommon presence to this Lions team. His confidence is indicative of his fortunate tenure in this sport, but somehow he’s a humble teammate wanting to focus on his excitement over Brown’s big night before his own.
“You’ve got to be coachable, you’ve got to be a teammate, and you’ve got to be able to take the good with the bad,” he said. “Things are going to happen and it’s not always going to look pretty, but when it is good, you’ve got to take it and run with it.”
“We did that tonight and it was great. The offensive line did an excellent job blocking for me and I can’t ask for nothing more. I just want to keep coming out here and doing what I can to keep this team going.”