B.C. Lions visit to Saskatchewan Roughriders a ‘playoff dress rehearsal’: coach

A win or tie for Saskatchewan on Saturday would also guarantee the team home-field advantage

B.C. Lions coach Wally Buono knows his club will be heading into a ”tough environment” when they visit the Saskatchewan Roughriders this weekend.

“You’re on the road. You know it’s going to be really loud, they’re going to be really aggressive. So it’s a fun game,” Buono said after practice on Thursday.

Both the Riders (11-6) and Lions (9-7) have already earned playoff spots, but the final two weeks of the regular season could sway the standings.

A win or tie for Saskatchewan on Saturday would also guarantee the team home-field advantage.

The intensity of the Lions-Riders matchup may be a hint at what’s to come, Buono said.

“I’ve already sold this game as a dress rehearsal for the playoffs,” he said, noting that the his squad may well face a tough road game to kick off the post season.

The Riders are the only team the Lions have yet to win against this year, and the only squad that has beat them in Vancouver.

The two teams met on Aug. 25, when Saskatchewan snatched a 24-21 win.

Buono said after that game that he may not have the right players to win. The Lions have only dropped one game since.

The team has been playing with playoff-level intensity for the last seven or eight weeks, said quarterback Travis Lulay.

“Every game has felt like it’s the biggest game of the year. So that works in our favour in terms of preparing for a high-pressure game,” he said.

Saskatchewan’s known to get between the quarterback and the ball, with defensive lineman Charleston Hughes leading the league with 15 sacks.

Hughes missed last week’s game after he was charged on Oct. 11 with impaired driving and failing to supply a breath sample for analysis. He told reporters this week that he’s “embarrassed” by the situation and trying to keep his “mind in the right place.”

Hughes is due in court on the charges on Wednesday, but could be back in the lineup this weekend.

Lulay said the Lions are ready for the Riders’ defence.

“You respect their pass rushers, you respect their guys, but you don’t think about the stats,” he said. ”We just have to be consistently balanced offensively to minimize those sack opportunities. And I just have to be decisive and find ways to move and slide when I need to.”

Meanwhile, B.C.’s Shawn Lemon said the Lions defensive crew is focused on playing fast-assignment football and making Riders quarterback Zach Collaros uncomfortable.

“They’re a very good team. They’ve been winning their past few games. They’re a playoff team so I think it’s a good test for us,” said the defensive lineman.

The Riders will have their hands full when it comes to the Lions defence, said Saskatchewan coach Chris Jones.

The defenders make impact plays and are tough to block, he said.

“We just need to handle our business this week and play a very good B.C. team,” Jones said.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Beefs & Bouquets, Jan. 17

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

City of Nanaimo wants to examine child care availability

Council votes to apply for provincial grant, but not all members of council agree

Police officer recounts car chase and takedown in Nanaimo drive-by shooting trial

B.C. Supreme Court trial sees RCMP officer testify about multi-jurisdictional car chase

Crime Stoppers received more tips last year than the year before

The City of Nanaimo has proclaimed January as Crime Stoppers Month

‘Nanaimo is next’ for urgent primary care centre

B.C. Health Minister says new centre coming in next few months

Barack Obama to speak at Vancouver event

Former U.S. president will speak with board of trade in March

Nanaimo Women March On with a message that matters

A range of voices will lead the conversation at Jan. 19 event downtown

Letters on way to all homeowners in B.C. speculation tax communities

Property owners have to register to avoid vacant-home tax

B.C. chowdery caught up in ‘rat-in-soup’ scandal to close

Crab Park Chowdery will be shutting down Jan. 20

Vancouver councillors unanimously approve motion declaring climate emergency

Vancouver joins cities like Los Angeles and London

Caribou herd disappears from Kootenays after last cow relocated

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Body of Canadian miner found after African kidnapping

Kirk Woodman’s body was discovered 100 kilometres from the site where he worked for Progress Mineral Mining Company in Burkina Faso

Study finds more than half of food produced in Canada wasted

The study released Thursday is the world’s first to measure food waste using data from industry and other sources instead of estimates

Most Read