June 15, 2011

Lions open pre-season with 24-0 win in Calgary


CALGARY — Steven Black’s first-quarter touchdown was all the offence the B.C. Lions needed against the Calgary Stampeders on Wednesday night.

Black hauled in a 16-yard pass from quarterback Travis Lulay to lead B.C. to a 24-0 win over the Stampeders at McMahon Stadium in the first CFL exhibition game for both teams.

“I’m hoping that’s just the first of many to come this year,”said Black, who caught five TD strikes as a Lions rookie last year. “I’ve been working hard this season this off-season, so hopefully that’ll pay off.”

So far in training camp, Lulay has seen he can count on Black as one of his go-to receivers.

“There’s no question I think Steve is going to have an expanded role in our offence,” said Lulay, who completed eight-of-13 passes for 114 yards in one quarter of action. “He’s a year better than he was.

“It took him a little while to get up to speed, but by the end of the year he started to really develop into a weapon for us offensively. He demonstrated that more tonight. It was good for him to get his hands on a ball in the end zone early on.”

Kamau Peterson and Nick Moore also caught TD passes for the Lions. Paul McCallum added a field goal.

Although it was just a pre-season win, B.C. coach Wally Buono was pleased with his team’s effort.

“The thing I was happy with was the two things that we feel we’ve improved upon and that’s our quarterback and offensive line,” Buono said. “I think it was evident we’re going to be better there.”

Meanwhile, all Calgary coach John Hufnagel could do afterwards was shake his head in disbelief.

“I am concerned, but I do think there’s players in that locker room that will respond,” he said.  “I was pleased I kept my composure and stayed with the gameplan of playing everybody.”

One bright spot for Calgary was cornerback Demetrice Morley, who had two first-half interceptions and missed adding another in the third quarter. With the off-season departure of all-star cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Dwight Anderson, the secondary is a question mark for the Stampeders in training camp.

“I had a good night, but I’m still upset by the ones that I left out there,” Morley said. “I’m just trying to put in hard work and let everybody know I come in here trying to work hard.

“If there’s an opportunity for me anywhere, I’m going to take that chance and do what I have to do to get it.”

Lulay capped off a five-play, 65-yard drive at 11:43 of the first with his TD pass to Black. McCallum put the Lions up 10-0 just 39 seconds into the second with a 22-yard field goal.

Calgary kicker Rob Maver missed two 48-yard field goal tries in the first half.

Jarious Jackson replaced Lulay in the second but couldn’t get much going.

The Lions then took advantage two Calgary turnovers to go ahead 24-0 in the third.

After Stamps’ centre Zac Carlson botched a snap to quarterback Drew Tate, the Lions recovered at the Calgary 10-yard line. That set up Jackson’s 10-yard TD strike to Peterson at 1:56.

Seven minutes later, third-string B.C. quarterback Mike Reilly threw a 15-yard TD pass to Moore following another fumble by Carlson just seven plays earlier.

Calgary starter Henry Burris, the CFL’s outstanding player last year, completed just 3-of-8 passes for 17 yards in the first.

“The preseason games are usually the worst and the ugliest, but to not put any points up and not be consistent like we wanted to be, we do have to have a sense of urgency in practice this week,” Burris said.

NOTES — The announced crowd of 8,235 spectators braved cold and rainy conditions to take in the game. … The Lions host the Saskatchewan Roughriders in their final exhibition game June 22 while Calgary travels to Edmonton to face the Eskimos on June 24.