BC Lions offence roars in road win over Hamilton

A first-half offensive outburst from Vernon Adams Jr. and the BC Lions lifted them to a convincing 44-28 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Tim Hortons Field on Sunday night.

Adams was 26-36 and threw for 321 yards and all four of his touchdowns in the first half alone, finishing the evening with 383 yards through the air. Receiver Justin McInnis had a mammoth 144 receiving yards on 10 receptions, catching two touchdowns.

Bo Levi Mitchell went 32-48, throwing for 374 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s fifth straight loss. James Butler was Hamilton’s most productive offensive weapon. He hauled in a touchdown and totalled 109 all-purpose yards.

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Adams and the Lions offence marched down the field in no time on the game’s first drive. Two dimes to McInnis got things going before Adams found an open William Stanback for a 45-yard reception into the end zone.

BC continued their aerial attack on their next possession. McInnis was the recipient for gains of 21 and 29 yards and then veered to the left in the end zone to haul in the game’s second touchdown as the Lions pounced on an early 14-0 lead.

Ticats punter Nik Constantinou registered the home team’s first point of the day with a single late in the first quarter.

The Lions continued their hot start on offence at the start of the second quarter, finding more success through the air. McInnis made two catches of 22 and 21 yards before pulling in his second touchdown of the day deep in the end zone on the 70-yard, six-play drive. Sean Whyte‘s successful point after made it 21-1 for the away team.

After the Ticats’ fifth punt of the game, the Lions started with the football at Hamilton’s 38 and extended their lead to 24-1 with a quick field goal score

Butler continued to dominate the touches for the Ticats on their next possession, ripping off a nine-yard run and then taking down a 32-yard pass from Mitchell to get the Tabbies their first touchdown of the evening, making it 24-8 after Marc Liegghio‘s kick.

On the first play of the ensuing drive, Adams got his fourth touchdown toss of the half when he looked deep to a dashing Alexander Hollins, who made his defender miss en route to a 69-yard touchdown reception. Whyte’s follow-up kick attempt made it 31-8 for the Leos midway through the second frame.

Davon Harris‘ 61-yard kickoff return helped the Ticats find their next score with a 22-yard field goal by Liegghio, cutting into the Lions’ lead before halftime to make it a 31-11 game.

The Lions kept their foot on the gas to close out the half. Adams connected with Hollins on an 18-yard play and then used his legs to run for 11 yards and a first down to keep the chains moving. The Ticats came up with a stop on second down just outside the red zone, leading to a Whyte field goal from 28 yards out. The Lions went into the dressing room with a 34-11 advantage.

The Ticats managed to cut into their deficit straight after the interval. Mitchell and Shemar Bridges connected for pickups of 18 and then 15 yards to move the hosts into the red zone. Joshua Archibald‘s sack on Mitchell pushed the Tabbies five yards back and meant that they would have to go for a field goal on third down. Liegghio’s 28-yard kick attempt was successful in bringing the score to 34-14.

Adams and the BC offence picked up from where they left off with their first possession of the second half. The Lions began their scoring drive with a 12-yard rush from Stanback and then Adams combined with Jevon Cottoy for an 18-yard passing play. The Ticats’ defensive unit was able to hold their opponent out of the red zone but couldn’t stop BC from putting three more points on the board. Whyte’s 35-yard field goal was good, making it 37-14.

Back with the football, the Ticats were able to respond with their second touchdown of the game on a lengthy 68-yard drive. Going for it on third down at the Lions’ four-yard line, Mitchell completed a touchdown pass to Luther Hakunavanhu to make it 37-21.

After the Ticats failed to put up any points on their next two possessions, BC closed out the game with their last score. Stanback revved into the end zone from three yards out for his first rushing touchdown of the season and Whyte’s kick was good to make it 44-21. Mitchell and Smith connected for one final touchdown with the last play of the game to bring the final score to 44-28.

The BC Lions’ next test will see them host the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday, July 13. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are on bye in Week 6 and return to action to face the Toronto Argonauts at home on Saturday, July 20.

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