James Butler on WSF: ‘It’s going to be a great matchup’

Bryan Burnham has been with the BC Lions long enough to know that his team doesn’t really have a heated rival like the rest of the clubs.

When it comes to Labour Day Weekend, the one weekend a year that features four matchups of teams that really don’t like each other, the Lions sit the week out.

Even though his team doesn’t technically have a rival, Burnham feels like he has one personally. And he’s playing them on Sunday afternoon.

“That’s who I would consider has been my rival in my CFL career, is the Calgary Stampeders,” Burnham told members of the media on Saturday after the team’s walkthrough at BC Place ahead of the Western Semi-Final.

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In the three games the Lions have played against the Stampeders during the regular season, Burnham has hauled in 323 yards (165 and a touchdown in Week 10, 100 in Week 15 and 58 in Week 16) on 19 catches.

Burnham had been out of the lineup since the last meeting between the Stamps and his Leos, after he suffered a fractured wrist and was subsequently placed on the six-game injured list.

So it’s pretty good timing that the six-foot-two, 205-pound receiver is ready to get back in the lineup this weekend when he gets to face his personal rival for the fourth time this season.

Not only has he found much success against the Stampeders, he also has four games of playoff experience under his belt. Over those four games, the 32-year-old has hauled in 10 catches, 156 yards and a major score.

On the other side of the ball, the Lions front seven know they need to be aware of running back Ka’Deem Carey and his ability to find gaps and make defenders miss. But along with stopping the run, getting after the quarterback is just as important for the defence in orange and black.

In the three meetings between these two teams in the regular season, the Lions allowed 11 sacks while the Stampeders did not give one up. That, of course, is because of how good the Stampeders offensive line has been this year – they’ve only allowed 17 quarterback take downs in the regular season.


“Definitely buy into the scheme,” Lokombo said when asked about what the Lions need to do defensively against the Stampeders to get to quarterback Jake Maier. “I think that was the biggest thing (in the previous games), where we weren’t able to execute the schemes all the way through. Going into this game we have a great scheme, we have a good defensive book. (We need to) just create more turnovers. Everybody has to do their job, do their assignments and make it hard for Maier.”

And as for protecting Rourke on Sunday and not allowed the Stampeders to add to their sack total against them? The Lions pivot has complete faith in the big men in the trenches in front of him.

“I have a tremendous about of confidence in our offensive line and that they’re going to give me enough time,” said Rourke. “If they bring one more than we can block then that’s on me to get the ball out.

It’s expected to be a massive crowd at BC Place, with the team opening up the upper bowl along the sidelines and end zones, as both teams get set to put everything on the line to keep their 2022 seasons alive.

“We’re excited to play Calgary,” said running back James Butler, who is getting ready for his first CFL playoff game. “We know they’re a real hot team right too but we believe that we’re a hot team too so we’re excited. It’s going to be a great atmosphere at BC Place. We’ve got 12 (Nathan Rourke) back, everyone’s excited for that. It’s going to be a great matchup.”

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