Rourke on Lions win: ‘It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done’
VANCOUVER — The BC Lions earned a decisive 30-16 victory over the Calgary Stampeders in Sunday’s Western Semi-Final.
Making his CFL post-season debut, Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke impressed as he threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns, helping his team secure their place in the Western Final for the first time since 2016.
“We came out of it with a win, that was the most satisfying thing to me,” said Rourke in a post-game interview with media at BC Place. “I mean, it wasn’t pretty, but we got it done.”
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Offensively, the BC passing attack proved to be difficult for the Calgary secondary to contain.
Keon Hatcher led the BC receiving efforts as he reeled in eight catches for a team-high 162 yards. The Lions playmaker also found the end zone on a third-down trick-play that led to a 45-yard touchdown pass from Antonio Pipkin.
“We talked about playing to win, I have to put my money where my mouth is,” said head coach Rick Campbell of the trick play. “That’s a total credit to our offensive staff and Jordan (Maksymic). We actually talked in the locker room before the game about that, if we were in the right situation of being able to do it.”
With Lucky Whitehead out of the lineup, first-year pass-catcher Alexander Hollins made his impact felt. In his playoff debut, Hollins caught five of his six targets for 73 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown to give his team a 13-6 lead before halftime.
Rourke was quick to praise Hollins for the impressive outing.
“I’m just super proud of him,” said the Lions quarterback. “He’s a great guy to have around the locker room, I think he just brings a great energy. Really happy for him to be able to come up big in some big moments today.”
The Lions defensive unit also managed to produce in a big way for their team in Sunday’s win over Calgary.
Entering the Western Semi-Final, the Stampeders boasted one of the league’s best backfields. Led by Ka’Deem Carey, the Stamps averaged over 135 rushing yards per game. However, the Lions defensive unit managed to contain the Calgary backfield, surrendering just 83 yards on 17 carries.
“They’re really good and do a great job running the ball,” said Campbell. “You hear about it so much, about how good they are that pride comes in. I’m proud of our defence.
“Obviously that was a big part of it, was to control their running game and having our offence stay on the field.”
Looking ahead to next week, the Lions will matchup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from IG Field for the Western Final, which is an opportunity the BC head coach is looking forward too.
“It’s going to be exciting,” said Campbell. “We all know Winnipeg is going to be sold out and loud and it’s really going to be us against the world and we’ll do our best to go in there and try to get it done.”