EDMONTON — Coach Mike Benevides got a sneak peek at how his team handles adversity on Friday night.
Steven Shott’s 38-yard field goal with just eight seconds to play was the difference as the B.C. Lions overcame a tough start to defeat the Edmonton Eskimos 14-11 in a CFL pre-season game.
“We definitely had to overcome some stuff in this game,” Benevides said. “We had some positive plays and some negative plays we needed to rebound from. We had a touchdown at the goal-line in the second quarter and dropped it and had another one on a corner route and didn’t exactly get the throw we wanted. We were down the entire game and had to fight that adversity. It was good to see how they handled the final two minutes.”
Lions quarterback Travis Partridge engineered the comeback and was thrilled to be able to make a difference in his first CFL game.
“It was fun,” he said. “There were a lot of firsts for me. I had my first bonehead mistake with an interception, my first completion, my first rushing yards and my first TD pass. It was a blast. Even though it was a pre-season game, a win always feels good. I have a lot to learn, as do a lot of us, but it was something I can build on.”
The Lions finished one spot ahead of Edmonton in the Western Division last season, tied with Saskatchewan at 11-7.
The Eskimos are hoping a ton of off-season changes, including bringing in Chris Jones as the new head coach, will help them improve on a disappointing 2013 season.
“It was a pretty good game,” Jones said. “There’s a lot of good things on that film, unfortunately we ended up coming out on the short end of the stick. We talked about it pre-game, we had to hold onto the football, we couldn’t take penalties and that ended up being the Achilles heel at the end, but there were some good things.”
Edmonton started the scoring with 5:45 remaining in the opening quarter as quarterback Mike Reilly capped off a long drive with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Fred Stamps.
B.C. responded with a 37-yard Ricky Schmitt field goal three minutes later to make it 7-3 for Edmonton heading into the second quarter.
John Beck replaced Kevin Glenn as the Lions quarterback for the second half. He had a couple of decent drives fall short as B.C. could only add a punt single to its side of the score column before turning the ball over at the Edmonton nine-yard line on a third down gamble with just under two minutes to play in the first half.
Edmonton got a late interception from Dexter McCoil at the Lions’ 35, leading to a Grant Shaw field goal and a 10-4 lead for the home team at the mid-mark.
The slow pace to the game continued into the third quarter as Edmonton got a single point on a missed 37-yard field goal attempt by Zackary Medeiros.
It just wasn’t Medeiros’ day as he got a second chance from the 36 late in the third quarter and hit the uprights to keep the score at a humdrum 11-4.
The Lions were pressing to tie the game with nine-and-a-half minutes remaining, but a pass from third string QB Partridge was picked off in the end zone by Edmonton’s Ryan Hinds.
B.C. was finally rewarded on one of their drives with just 2:43 remaining in the fourth quarter as Partridge hit Brian Burnham with a 23-yard TD pass into the end zone to tie the game 11-11.
The Lions got the ball back at the Edmonton 25 with 47 seconds left on Alex Ellis-Hoffman’s recovery of a Mark Dell fumble, leading to the game-winning field goal.