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VANCOUVER — The BC Lions shrugged off their Week 9 loss to the Blue Bombers with a dominant performance in the 37-9 win over the Calgary Stampeders on Friday at BC Place.
Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. returned to the lineup and led the team to 17 points in his first three drives and finished 23-of-32 for 322 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
Wide receiver Keon Hatcher was his favourite target of the evening with 170 yards on nine catches and a score. The other three scores went to running back Taquan Mizzell alongside receivers Lucky Whitehead and Alexander Hollins as the Lions improved to 7-2.
Stampeders’ quarterback Jake Maier was coming off a performance that saw him complete 91.7 per cent of his passes but finished only 17-of-31 for 131 yards and was unable to lead his team to a major.
Running back Ka’Deem Carey returned from an early-season injury and rushed for 44 yards on seven carries while also catching two passes for 14 yards in the losing effort for the 3-6 Stampeders.
» Depth Chart: BC | CGY
» Through the Lens: Stampeders at Lions
» Box Score: Stamps at Lions by the numbers
» Watch: No sign of rust for Vernon Adams Jr. as Lions strike early
» Hatcher, Adams Jr. shine as BC stays undefeated at home
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Adams Jr. picked things up right where he left off in his first drive back. The pivot moved the ball through the air with connections to Jevon Cottoy and Hollins – to go alongside a pass-interference penalty on Hatcher – to set the Lions on first-and-six. The veteran then lobbed one to a crossing Hollins in the back of the end zone for a quick 7-0 for the home team.
Hollins showed up again in the next drive for the Leos, moving the ball 24 yards on two catches. It wasn’t enough for a major but it was enough for kicker Sean Whyte to make it 10-0 with 7:03 to go in the first quarter.
Adams Jr. kept dealing for the Lions in the first quarter. The veteran connected twice with Hatcher all the way to Calgary’s seven-yard line. Then on first and goal he threw the ball to No. 4 for the third straight time, this time in the end zone for a 17-0 lead in less than 13 minutes played.
The visitors got one back early in the second quarter via kicker Rene Paredes from 46 yards out with 13:40 left.
Whyte made it a 17-point game again in the next drive for BC with a 47-yard field goal that extended the lead to 20-3.
The No. 3-to-No. 4 connection showed up again later in the second quarter and went for 46 yards. It didn’t result in points, however, as linebacker Micah Awe got in front of a pass by Adams Jr. for the first turnover of the game.
Defensive lineman Mathieu Betts made a play on special teams for the home team, blocking a punt and setting them up with first-and-10 on Calgary’s 12. The offence rode that momentum to another touchdown, this time with Mizzell catching a pass from Adams Jr. that made it 27-3 with a minute left in the first half.
Calgary still managed to put together a field-goal drive that cut the lead to 27-6 going into halftime.
The Orange and Black stopped the visitors from cutting into their lead with a third-down stop in the third as both teams went into a stalemate for most of the quarter. Calgary was the one to break it with another field goal by Paredes in the last play of the penultimate frame.
The fourth was a different history though. BC engineered another scoring drive in their first possession of the quarter. Adams Jr. scrambled away from pressure and found a wide-open Whitehead in the middle of the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown and a 34-9 lead.
Defensive back Garry Peters intercepted Maier with 6:36 to go in the fourth and Whyte pushed the lead to 37-9 as the Lions moved to 7-2 and tied the Blue Bombers at the top of the West Division. The Stampeders dropped to 3-6 and remain in fourth place.
The Stamps return home in Week 11 to host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday, Aug. 11, while the Lions go on the road to face the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina on Sunday, Aug. 20.