Lions still pressing for post-season after routing Redblacks

OTTAWA — The odds of post-season football might not be very good for the B.C. Lions, but that doesn't mean they won't be pushing as hard as they can.

Point in case is Mike Reilly, who threw for 353 yard and two touchdowns as the B.C. Lions routed the Ottawa Redblacks 40-7 on Saturday. He became the only quarterback in the CFL to start every game for his team this season and led the Lions (3-10) to their second consecutive blowout win over the Redblacks (3-10) having won 29-5 last week in Vancouver.

"There's still a lot to be gained this season and no one knows what the post-season holds and that's out of our control in the sense that even if we win every game there's only a couple of scenarios where we would see post-season action, and those are very unlikely," said Reilly.

"More importantly we just want to become the best team we can be this season and build moving towards the future, whether that's post-season or next season."

Reilly left midway through the fourth quarter, giving way to Dan O'Brien.

Trailing 30-5 entering the fourth quarter, Lewis Ward was wide on a 32-yard field goal attempt for the Redblacks but did manage to get a single point.

Reilly came right back and threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Burnham and if the game wasn't done before, it was then at 37-6 with 10 minutes to play. Sergio Castillo kicked a 28-yard field goal — his fourth of the game — with 7:59 left for a 40-6 lead.

The crowd threw out a Bronx Cheer following a 77-yard punt single to give the Redblacks their seventh point.

"It's disappointing man. That game was a tough one to watch," Ottawa coach Rick Campbell said of their sixth straight loss.

"We are not performing up to what we are capable of and that's where things have gone sideways from my seat. Everybody who has been in the business long enough has been on the downside of things and no magic person is coming to the rescue. You show up and you keep working."

Jonathan Jennings stared at quarterback for Ottawa but was replaced by Will Arndt to start the fourth quarter.

Things started fairly well for the Redblacks as they took the opening drive of the game 68-yards but they failed to convert a third-and-one on the BC four-yard line.

From there the first half consisted of six straight two-and-outs for the Redblacks and a chorus of boos rained down from the stands as they left the field.

The Lions, meanwhile, were moving the ball quite effectively and built a 20-2 lead at the half while putting up 328 yards of offence.

B.C. conceded a safety on its first possession rather than punting from their own end zone to give Ottawa an early 2-0 lead.

John White rushed for a seven-yard touchdown at 12:39 of the first quarter and the Castillo convert gave the Lions a 7-2 lead.

Early in the second quarter Reilly threw a pass behind the line of scrimmage to Duron Cater who then tossed a 67-yard touchdown pass to Shaq Johnson and the conversion made it 14-2.

Castillo then kicked field goals of 28 and 18 yards, that latter being the final play of the half, and the Lions took a 20-2 lead into the break.

"I know in the beginning of the year I struggled a little bit with my placement and now I feel, along with the field goals, I've been improving in that area. Anything I can do to help the team out," Castillo said.

"When bad things happen I think we're able to rebound and I think that's something we struggled with in the beginning of the year. Now we're starting to click, not on all cylinders but we're able to respond when there's adversity.

It didn't take long for B.C. to put up more points as Reilly connected with Carter for a 14-yard touchdown pass just under two minutes into the second half.

The Redblacks manage a first down on their first play of the second half. They added a second as DeVonte Dedmon hauled in a 41-yard reception down to the B.C. 15, but Jennings was intercepted on the very next play.

The Lions then drove the field and got a 42-yard field goal from Castillo at 8:04 for a 30-2 lead.

Ward responded for the Redblacks with a 28-yard field goal with three-and-a-half minutes to play in the third.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2019.

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