Lions down Edmonton Elks in dominant season finale

VANCOUVER —  Nathan Rourke threw for 359 yards and four total touchdowns in the BC Lions’ 43-10 win over the Edmonton Elks.

After taking a 34-7 lead into the half highlighted by a trio of rushing touchdowns by Rourke, the Lions kept their foot on the gas for the remaining 30 minutes.

On the opposing sideline, it was both Taylor Cornelius and Dakota Prukop spending time under centre for the Elks. Cornelius finished the game throwing for 27 yards and three interceptions. Prukop chipped in with 183 yards of his own, a touchdown and two interceptions.

The Lion’s secondary feated on the Elks’ offence with T.J. Lee recording a pair of the Lions’ five interceptions.

James Butler finished the game with 109 rushing yards on the ground while Dominique Rhymes hauled in four balls for 103 yards through the air.

» Through the Lens: Elks at Lions
» Boxscore: Elks, Lions by the numbers
» Watch: Whitehead shows off his signature speed on 79-yard punt return

Stringing together an impressive first drive, it was the Lions who struck first after Jevon Cottoy recovered a punt to keep their opening drive alive. Following a tight-window completion to Bryan Burnham inside the Elks’ 30-yard line, Rourke found him again two plays later on a curl route in the end zone.

On the Elks’ ensuing drive, Marcus Sayles came up with the game’s first interception for the Lions as he picked off Cornelius on his third pass attempt of the game.

With the ball back in his hands, Rourke’s first throw found Rhymes up the seam for a 48-yard reception. Rhymes’ additional 22-yards-after-catch placed the Lions on the Elks’ seven-yard line. Rourke found Lucky Whitehead for a short gain on the next play before calling his own number on the goal line for his second touchdown of the game.

Following an injury timeout, Rourke continued to lean on his arm. Looking to connect with Whitehead on a deep shot, Aaron Grymes came up with the football, providing a spark for the Elks.

The Lions responded on defence with another takeaway of their own. This time, it was T.J. Lee picking off Cornelius.

BC capitalized on the turnover with Rourke finding the end zone for the second time on the ground with a five-yard QB draw. Nick Vogel missed the point-after-try wide right keeping it 20-0 for BC.

Prukop lined up under centre for the Elks on their next drive which saw him scamper for a 25-yard gain on his first snap. Cornelius took to the field four plays later and was picked off for a third time by Anthony Cioffi.

BC extended their first-half lead with Rourke’s third rushing touchdown of the half.

The Lions’ special teams got in on the action following a stalled-out Elks’ drive with Whitehead collecting a punt and returning it for a 79-yard touchdown.

The Elks found the end zone on the last play of the half with Prukop connecting with Jalen Tolliver, making it 34-7 for the Lions.

Coming out for the second half, the Elks moved the ball with ease. Working their way down the field led by Prukop, the Elks looked to widdle away at the Lions’ lead.

After being stuffed on a second-and-short, Sean Whyte was called upon for his first field goal of the game. His 12-yard attempt made it 34-10.

Vogel responded for the Lions on their first drive of the third quarter, capping off a seven-play, 34-yard drive with a 43-yard field goal.

After stringing together another momentum-building drive, Vogel was called upon after crossing midfield for the Lions. His 44-yard field goal made it 40-10 for the Orange and Black.

Looking to respond, Prukop and the Elks offence got to the BC 43-yard line before Lee picked off Prukop for his second interception of the game.

Edmonton responded with an interception of their own as the Lions were within striking distance of the end zone, Rourke threw his second interception of the game with Keishawn Bierria snagging it on the seven-yard line.

Hakeem Johnson recorded the Lions’ fifth interception a play later while Vogel later added to the Lions’ lead with a 24-yard field goal.

On their final drive of the 2021 season, Butler led the way for the Lions as they chewed the clock. His 26 yards in the final minute saw him finish the game with over 100 yards from scrimmage.

With their win, the Lions close out the 2021 campaign with a record of 5-9 while the Elks head into the offseason finishing 3-11.

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