BC Lions hold off late surge from Toronto Argonauts for crucial home win

VANCOUVER — The BC Lions held off a late surge from the Toronto Argonauts lead by quarterback James Franklin to take home two points on Saturday night and keep things interesting in the West Division.

The Leos walked away with a 26-23 victory on home turf at BC Place as Jonathon Jennings tossed for 199 yards and a touchdown while running back Jeremiah Johnson rushed for 118 yards.

The game opened up with a hard hit that shook up the Argos lineup even more. On a completed over-the-middle pass to SJ Green, Lions Linebacker Jordan Herdman came through trucking, unfortunately ending Green’s night.

Shortly after, a deep ball was thrown intended for Duron Carter who slipped during a one on one battle with Anthony Orange, creating space for Orange to pick off Bethel-Thompson for Orange’s fifth interception of the campaign.

The ensuing drive took off with what we’ve all been waiting for. Jon Jennings getting into the action and throwing a 40-yard bomb down field that Bryan Burnham came down with on a 50/50 ball.

A few penalties later, Jennings answered the call from recent criticism on the half of his own General Manager Ed Hervey, by throwing his first touchdown of the game. The 14-yard dart up the middle to Cory Watson opened the scoring and capped a 5-play 73-yard drive, however, a missed convert kept it that 6-0 early Lions lead.

The Lions kept it going, putting the common denominator on display when the Orange and Black’s D applied all sorts of pressure on the Argos, backing them up inside their own ten, forcing them to concede two-points, extending the Lions lead to 8-0.

The next drive showed off what else Jennings had in his arsenal, running for a big first that ultimately led to Ty Long tacking on an extra three points to the Lions lead, making it 11-0 after the first frame.

The second quarter got under way with McLeod Bethel-Thompson and company earning their first three points of the game to cut into score.

On their next possession, Bethel-Thompson was hit on his release by TJ Lee who popped the ball upright for Lions’ Defensive Tackle Davon Coleman to come down with. That was Bethel-Thompson’s second INT of the game, the first time he threw multiple picks in a game all year. The pick led to a Lions field goal, spreading the lead to 14-3.

No, James Wilder Jr., wasn’t in the game tonight, but Brandon Burks sure did look like him when he took off out of the gates for a 69-yard, 3-2-1 blast-off run. The run set up Bethel-Thompson and the Argos in great field possession where they capitalized on a flat pass touchdown to Llevi Noel, cutting the Lions lead to just four, 14-10.

Ty Long from long for three. You’d expect it from him with a name like that, right? Well it fits him because he hit a 50-yarder, making 17-10 on the board.

It was just about all Lions in the first half, the big man Davon Coleman got another pick with his sticky mitts on a driving Argos squad with just over 30-seconds left in the half. The pick set up a whopping 51-yard three-pointer from Ty Long, making it a ten-point lead after two.

The second half started like it ended, Lions dominating, protecting their den. Talk about pressure, how about from Shawn Lemon this time, who earned himself his ninth sack of the year.

The pressure did not stop there, no sir. The Lions kept it coming from all angles forcing Bethel-Thompson to chuck it up there when Winston Rose channeled his inner centre-fielder emulating what may as well been a pop out fly ball. That fourth pick from Bethel-Thompson ended his night in exchange for James Franklin who started the fourth.

Meanwhile, Jon Jennings continued to turn heads by one, throwing a 33-yard pass to the outside shoulder of DeVier Posey and then two, taking off himself for 33-yards on his own merit by foot. Then Ty Long took over, adding six of his own on two separate field goal occasions, 26-10 Lions lead deep in the fourth.

You’d think it’s all but done by how this one is going, not entirely… Que a Duron Carter touchdown. He broke the plane by being the first man back to the ball and getting his first as an Argo. The Argos would go for two, but failed on the convert, keeping it a 26-16 score.

Not long after that, the game got even closer. Ty Long could have sealed the deal, but a rare miss had Duron Carter taking it back to good field position with a minute and 42 to go.

With the Argos trying to get back into this one, James Franklin started to put together a drive and a half. On a clutch third down and twelve, Argos receiver Myles White earned the inches, keeping the drive alive. A few plays later, White notches six and just like that, a six-play, 76-yard drive made it a three-point game at 26-23 in favour of the Lions. Unfortunate for the Argos, it was just too little too late when their on-side attempt went to the Lions, topping off what made for very passionate 60 minutes.

The BC Lions took the ball game 26-23, extending their home record to 6-1 and inching themselves closer to a playoff berth.

The Lions will head to an enormous bout in Calgary when they face the league’s best squad, while the Argos host Hamilton to kick things off for Week 18 on Friday, October 12th.

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