A season sweep of the Calgary Stampeders would take the B.C. Lions somewhere they haven't been in a while.
B.C. (9-3) hosts Calgary (8-5) on Saturday night to complete a home-and-home series. The Lions are 2-0 versus the Stampeders this year following last week's 31-29 overtime decision at McMahon Stadium.
B.C. took the first meeting 41-40 on Aug. 13, rallying from a 33-21 fourth-quarter deficit at McMahon Stadium.
A win at B.C. Place Stadium would earn the Lions their first CFL playoff spot since 2018. They could still reach the post-season with a loss so long as both Ottawa and Hamilton lose their games this weekend.
That scenario would secure both Calgary and B.C. playoff berths.
Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. was 25-of-31 passing for 294 yards in his first start for the Lions while rushing three times for 32 yards. He led B.C. to its first win since Canadian starter Nathan Rourke suffered a foot injury in a 28-10 victory over Saskatchewan on Aug. 19.
Adams was aided by a Lions ground game that registered 124 yards on 24 carries (5.1-yard average). James Butler led the way with 83 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
Calgary starter Jake Maier was solid in defeat, completing 26-of-38 passes for 301 yards and three TDs. Malik Henry finished with four catches for a game-high 107 yards and a TD.
CFL rushing leader Ka'Deem Carey ran for 61 yards on 10 carries, giving him 773 yards overall and a 16-yard lead over Winnipeg's Brady Oliveira despite having played only 10 regular-season games.
But the contest was marred by an ugly post-game incident. After the outcome had been decided, Calgary linebacker Cameron Judge struck B.C. receiver Lucky Whitehead on the field, knocking Whitehead to the ground and prompting a melee.
Afterwards, a number of Lions players went to the Stampeders dressing room but police and security were already on site. There was verbal sparring between players from both sides but nothing more ensued.
On Tuesday, the CFL suspended Judge for one game. The veteran linebacker said he won't appeal, meaning Judge won't play at B.C. Place Stadium.
Judge was a standout performer last week, registering nine tackles, a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery.
B.C. has a 4-2 record this season at B.C. Place Stadium but Calgary counters with a solid 5-2 road mark. However, the Lions are 6-2 within the West Division while the Stampeders are 4-5, all of their losses having come against Winnipeg (three) and the Leos.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats versus Montreal Alouettes (Friday night)
At Montreal, it's the rubber match of the three-game season series and first meeting between the clubs since the Alouettes (5-7) earned a 29-28 home win Aug. 20 on David Cote's game-ending 48-yard field goal. The home team comes off the bye following a 31-10 home win over B.C. on Sept. 9 and is 2-3 within the East Division. Hamilton (4-9) defeated Winnipeg 48-31 on Saturday with starter Dane Evans throwing a career-high five TD passes. The Ticats are 0-6 on the road and 3-4 against conference rivals.
Toronto Argonauts versus Ottawa Redblacks (Saturday night)
At Ottawa, the Redblacks (3-9) chase their first win of the year at TD Place — they're 0-6 there — while looking to make up for a 24-19 home loss to Toronto on Sept. 10 before both teams hit a bye week. The Argos (7-5) can clinch a playoff spot with a victory and would also take the season series 2-1. They're 5-2 within the East, 3-2 on the road and have won three straight overall. McLeod Bethel-Thompson threw for 365 yards and a TD and pick while Kurleigh Gittens Jr. had eight catches for 161 yards and a touchdown two weeks ago.
Last week: 0-3.
CP's overall record: 43-15.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2022.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press