Harris scores TD, more to come

The former Canadian Junior Football League star scored his first CFL touchdown on Friday at Vancouver’s Empire Field as his B.C. Lions fell 34-32 to the Calgary Stampeders.

Andrew Harris practises with the B.C. Lions. The former V.I. Raiders star scored his first CFL touchdown Friday at Vancouver’s Empire Field.

Andrew Harris practises with the B.C. Lions. The former V.I. Raiders star scored his first CFL touchdown Friday at Vancouver’s Empire Field.

V.I. Raiders fans knew that sooner or later, they’d be seeing Andrew Harris highlights on TSN SportsCentre. It’s happening.

The former Canadian Junior Football League star scored his first CFL touchdown on Friday at Vancouver’s Empire Field as his B.C. Lions fell 34-32 to the Calgary Stampeders.

“I always want more, so even now, thinking about this [coming] weekend, I want to do it again,” Harris said. “It was such a good feeling that I want to repeat it and make sure that it’s not a one-time thing.”

That first time was “pretty sweet,” Harris said.

His girlfriend was in the crowd, along with V.I. Raiders coaches. Harris’ friend Tyrese Blokker was there, too, wearing a game-worn No. 33 Raiders jersey.

They all had a perfect view of their favourite player as he hauled in an 11-yard pass from Travis Lulay and crossed into the endzone.

“We were right down in that corner where he scored the touchdown,” said Matthew “Snoop” Blokker, V.I. Raiders coach. “It was just a real proud day for all of us, being friends with Andrew. We know what he can do and everyone else is figuring it out.”

The Lions seem to have an idea of their young player’s potential. Harris said coach Wally Buono actually called him during the off-season, before starting tailback Jamal Robertson was re-signed, and told Harris that he would be the Leos’ feature back in an all-Canadian running back corps.

Things didn’t work out that way for a variety of reasons, but that’s OK with Harris. At the moment, he gets every third series at tailback, he’s on the return team and he’s continuing to learn.

“The game has slowed down so much for me now. I’m a lot more comfortable in the schemes,” he said. “Before I was thinking a lot and making sure I’m not screwing up, where now I’m looking to make plays, I’m looking for weaknesses in the defence.”

Now that his first touchdown is in the books, Harris isn’t necessarily eyeing the next individual achievement. Yardage and touchdowns are secondary to winning.

“All that stuff I did in junior was great and it was always cool to accomplish it,” said the CJFL’s all-time touchdowns leader. “But at the end of the day my main goal was for us to win a championship and that’s the mindset I still have at the professional level.”

The Lions (0-2) haven’t won yet this summer, but Harris believes they’re close. At practice on Tuesday, Buono told the Leos they’re the best team he’s had in three years.

“Everyone knows around the league that we have the firepower and the guys to do it. Sometimes it takes a group of guys a little longer to jell and get it together,” said Harris. “Little things aren’t clicking but once [they] do, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with and we’ll definitely be a contender for the Grey Cup.”

GAME ON … The B.C. Lions play the Edmonton Eskimos on the road Saturday (July 16) at 4 p.m. Pacific time, live on TSN.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

V.I. Raiders fans knew that sooner or later, they’d be seeing Andrew Harris highlights on TSN SportsCentre. It’s happening.

The former Canadian Junior Football League star scored his first CFL touchdown on Friday at Vancouver’s Empire Field as his B.C. Lions fell 34-32 to the Calgary Stampeders.

“I always want more, so even now, thinking about this [coming] weekend, I want to do it again,” Harris said. “It was such a good feeling that I want to repeat it and make sure that it’s not a one-time thing.”

That first time was “pretty sweet,” Harris said.

His girlfriend was in the crowd, along with V.I. Raiders coaches. Harris’ friend Tyrese Blokker was there, too, wearing a game-worn No. 33 Raiders jersey.

They all had a perfect view of their favourite player as he hauled in an 11-yard pass from Travis Lulay and crossed into the endzone.

“We were right down in that corner where he scored the touchdown,” said Matthew “Snoop” Blokker, V.I. Raiders coach. “It was just a real proud day for all of us, being friends with Andrew. We know what he can do and everyone else is figuring it out.”

The Lions seem to have an idea of their young player’s potential. Harris said coach Wally Buono actually called him during the off-season, before starting tailback Jamal Robertson was re-signed, and told Harris that he would be the Leos’ feature back in an all-Canadian running back corps.

Things didn’t work out that way for a variety of reasons, but that’s OK with Harris. At the moment, he gets every third series at tailback, he’s on the return team and he’s continuing to learn.

“The game has slowed down so much for me now. I’m a lot more comfortable in the schemes,” he said. “Before I was thinking a lot and making sure I’m not screwing up, where now I’m looking to make plays, I’m looking for weaknesses in the defence.”

Now that his first touchdown is in the books, Harris isn’t necessarily eyeing the next individual achievement. Yardage and touchdowns are secondary to winning.

“All that stuff I did in junior was great and it was always cool to accomplish it,” said the CJFL’s all-time touchdowns leader. “But at the end of the day my main goal was for us to win a championship and that’s the mindset I still have at the professional level.”

The Lions (0-2) haven’t won yet this summer, but Harris believes they’re close. At practice on Tuesday, Buono told the Leos they’re the best team he’s had in three years.

“Everyone knows around the league that we have the firepower and the guys to do it. Sometimes it takes a group of guys a little longer to jell and get it together,” said Harris. “Little things aren’t clicking but once [they] do, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with and we’ll definitely be a contender for the Grey Cup.”

GAME ON … The B.C. Lions play the Edmonton Eskimos on the road Saturday (July 16) at 4 p.m. Pacific time, live on TSN.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com