November 4, 2023

Big Play VA: Adams Jr. leads Lions to WSF win over Stamps

Jamie Douglas/

VANCOUVER — It was the Vernon Adams Jr. show at BC Place on Saturday as the BC Lions punched their ticket to the Western Final on November 11.

The Lions pivot scored three times on the ground and added another two through the air in his team’s 41-30 win over the Calgary Stampeders in the Western Semi-Final. Adams Jr. threw for 413 yards and completed 28 of 39 passes in the victory, the first post-season win of his CFL career.

BC receiver Keon Hatcher scored a major and hauled in 195 yards in the win while receiver Jevon Cottoy also scored a touchdown through the air to go along with 63 yards on six catches.

Calgary receivers Marken Michel (66 yards) and Reggie Begelton (112 yards) scored touchdowns for the Stampeders, while Rene Paredes was good on all five of his field goal attempts. Jake Maier threw for two touchdowns and an interception to go along with 304 yards in his team’s loss.

The Lions head to IG Field to take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Western Final for the second year in a row.

» Depth Charts: CGY | BC
» Gallery: Stampeders at Lions
» Box Score: Calgary at BC by the numbers


Jake Maier and co. hit the field first and opened the game with a big play, airing it out to Reggie Begelton for a 43-yard gain. After a six-yard run from Ka’Deem Carey, the Stampeders scored the game’s opening touchdown on the very next play, as Maier found Marken Michel at the front of the end zone for a 32-yard strike. The three-play scoring drive, plus the completed convert, gave Calgary an early 7-0 lead.

Following a Lions two-and-out, Garry Peters had the first big play for the home team on defence, picking off Maier and bringing Adams Jr. and co. back onto the field to start at their own 35-yard line.

Adams Jr. started the drive with three-straight first downs, first a 12-yard run from Mizzell, followed by a 15-yard pass to Cottoy and then Hollins for 16 yards. A holding penalty on the next play would send them backwards to second and 20. The long distance on second down wasn’t a problem for Adams Jr., however, as he found Rhymes for a 23-yards completion. The team tried a little trickery on the drive, too, with a direct snap to Mizzell for gain of one. Adams Jr. then found to Rhymes for 10 yards, bringing the Lions down to the Stampeders eight yard line.

Following an incompletion, Adams Jr. tossed to Cottoy in the end zone for an eight-yard score, as the home team cashed in on the turnover. With the completed convert, things were tied 7-7 with four minutes left in the first quarter.


Following a Stampeders two-and-out, Adams Jr. and co. went to work again. The team started down the field, moving the chains on the drive that included a few big plays, 19-yards to Justin McInnis and 36-yards to Keon Hatcher. Hatcher’s completion set BC up on the Stampeders six-yard line where Adams Jr. called his own number and scampered into the end zone for six. With the completed convert, the Lions took their first lead of the ball game (14-7) as the opening quarter expired.

On Calgary’s ensuing drive, the team started with three consecutive rushes by Carey; five yard followed by a gain of 16 yards and then one of three. On second-and-seven, the Stampeders took a procedure penalty pushing them back five-yards. Josh Woods was right there on second-and-12, batting away the pass intended for Tre Odoms-Dukes and setting up the Stampeders to punt the ball away. However, a roughing the kicker penalty called on the Lions brought Maier and the Stamps offence right back onto the field.

Maier returned and moved the chains down the field, but the Lions defence held them to a field goal attempt. Paredes was good on his 27-yard field goal, cutting the home team’s lead to 14-10 with just under nine minutes left in the second quarter.

The Lions’ ensuing drive featured Adams Jr. and the offence continuing their success moving the chains down the field. Three-straight first downs brought BC down to the Stampeders seven-yard line. On second-and-goal from the four, Adams Jr. evaded a Calgary defender in the pocket, getting himself out of trouble, and ran into the end zone for his second major on the ground of the afternoon. With the completed convert, BC extended their lead (21-10) with five minutes left in the opening half.

Paredes added another field goal on the Stampeders next drive, connecting on his 34-yard attempt. The three points cut the Lions lead to 21-13 with 2:06 on the clock.

Adams Jr. and the Lions offence made quick work of their next possession and scored their second passing touchdown of the game. This time it was Hatcher who was on the other side of an Adams Jr. pass in the end zone, hauling in the five-yard score. The convert increased the Lions lead to 28-13 with 18 seconds left in the half.

Calgary’s defence had a turnover to start the second half, as Silas Stewart scooped up a Justin McInnis fumble on the Lions second play of the third frame. Maier looked for Luther Hakunavanhu in the front corner of the end zone on second-and-11, but the Stampeders receiver couldn’t haul it in. That brought up third down and Calgary had to settle for a field goal attempt. Paredes was good on his 38-yarder, cutting BC’s lead to 28-16 early in the third.

Following a BC two-and-out, Maier and co. hit the field looking for another score. Carey started the drive with an eight-yard run and then Maier found Hakunavanhu for 22-yards. A few plays later, the Stampeders had to settle for another field goal, this one from 42 yards. The three points cut BC’s lead to 28-19 with seven and a half minutes on the clock.


The Lions settled for a field goal themselves on their ensuing drive, a drive that included a big 24-yard run from Adams Jr. on first and 20. Whyte was good on his 17-yard attempt and the home team increased their lead to 31-19 with three minutes left in the third frame.

The BC defence dug in on the Stampeders next possession, forcing a two-and-out and Calgary had to punt the ball away.

And as they had been doing all game, the Lions offence continued their big play ways, with Adams Jr. connecting with Hatcher for 44 yards to start the drive, bringing the team down to the Stampeders 31-yard line. A few plays later on second-and-one, Adams Jr. scored his third touchdown on the ground of the game, plunging into the end zone on a sneak. Whyte’s convert was good, increasing the Lions lead to 38-19 early in the fourth quarter.

On Calgary’s ensuing drive, the Stampeders went for it on third-and-four but an illegal procedure pushed them back five yards, setting up third-and-nine. BC’s defence was up for the task though, with David Menard taking down Maier for the sack and a turnover on downs.

Despite starting on the Stampeders 20-yard line, BC had to settle for a field goal. Whyte was good on his 30-yard field goal attempt to increase his team’s lead to 41-19.

Just when it appeared that Calgary scored a touchdown, on a third-and-21, a holding penalty was called on the Stampeders, negating the Cole Tucker major. The team decided not to go for it on third-and-31, and Paredes hit the field for his fifth field goal attempt of the game. His 47-yard attempt was good, cutting BC’s lead to 41-22 with seven minutes left.

Whyte looked to add another field goal to the Lions lead on their ensuing possession but he missed his 47-yard attempt.

Inside the three minute warning, Calgary started moving the chains, aided by a few penalties against the Lions, down to the BC 10-yard line. On first-and-10, Maier found Carey but Woods was there to stop him in his tracks for no gain setting up second-and-10. Scrambling out of the pocket, Maier found Begelton in the end zone, hauling in the team’s second touchdown of the contest. The Stamps went for two, finding Tucker in the end zone for the completed convert. That cut the Lions lead to 41-30 with 1:11 left in the game.

Calgary attempted an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff but Cottoy recovered it, giving the Lions a first down.

After BC was held to a two-and-out, defensive back Marcus Sayles sealed the deal, picking off Maier’s attempt with 15 seconds left.

Next up for the Leos is a bout with the Bombers on Nov. 11 while the Stampeders will pack their bags until next season.

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