Reilly, BC Lions’ defence dominate Calgary Stampeders for 1st win

CALGARY — A big passing performance from Michael Reilly and a dominant showing from the Lions’ defence guided BC to a 15-9 road win over the Calgary Stampeders on Thursday night to kick off Week 2.

After being named starter ahead of Nathan Rourke shortly before kick off, the 36-year-old veteran stepped up with a big opening half to put BC in control early — showing no signs of being hindered. A young Lions defence took care of business to keep Mitchell and the Calgary offence out of the end zone in the first half, racking up three sacks and an interception.

Calgary’s defence forced a pair of turnovers in the second half, and Rene Paredes’ second 48-yard field goal of the game cut the Lions’ lead in half at 12-6. But BC’s defence stepped up once again, with KiAnte Hardin picking off Bo Levi Mitchell in the end zone. A final interception from Jalon Edwards-Cooper secured BC’s first win of the season.

Reilly finished the opening half with 231 passing yards en route to a 342-yard performance. Bryan Burnham and Lucky Whitehead led the Lions receivers with 121 and 108 yards, respectively.

Mitchell was picked off four times for the first time in his CFL career, finishing with 290 passing yards.

After forcing a two-and-out early in the first quarter, BC proceeded to move down the field through the air. Reilly connected with Shaq Johnson for a first down to get things started, and his next completion went for a 20-yard gain to Whitehead.

» Through the Lens: Lions at Stampeders
» Boxscore: Stampeders, Lions by the numbers

Lions receiver Lemar Durant kept the chains moving with a 12-yard catch-and-run, but the Lions fell just short of a touchdown when a Reilly pass went over the head of Bryan Burnham in the end zone. The Lions got on the board after a 22-yard field goal attempt from Takeru Yamasaki went wide and through the end zone for one point.

Mitchell and the Stamps’ offence showed signs of life on the ensuing drive, as the quarterback launched a pass down the field to Richie Sindani for 35 yards. But the Lions’ young defensive front stepped up a few plays later, stuffing quarterback Michael O’Connor on third down as he attempted to move the sticks on a QB sneak.

The Lions’ offence took over, and Reilly opened the drive with a 61-yard bomb deep shot to Burnham down the left side of the field. But BC was forced to settle for a 22-yard field goal from Yamasaki following a strong defensive stand.

Calgary responded with a 48-yard field goal from Paredes after Mitchell connected on a 30-yard pass to Kamar Jorden, cutting the Lions’ lead down to a single point.

But Reilly and company continued right where they left off, as the gunslinger quickly completed a 43-yard pass to Whitehead. Reilly hooked up with Whitehead again two plays later for a 13-yard gain, and running back James Butler added 18 combined yards on back-to-back runs.

Reilly finished the scoring drive off with a one-yard QB sneak across the goal line, and an ensuing two-point conversion run from Butler put BC up 12-3 after a review.

A leaping 26-yard catch from Markeith Ambles gave Calgary some momentum on the following drive, but it was short-lived. The Stamps were ultimately forced to punt after Lions defensive end Obum Gwacham brought down Mitchell for his first career CFL sack.

The Stamps generated another spark of momentum in the final minutes of the first half when Malik Henry returned a punt 42 yards, with Lions punter Jake Ford making the desperation tackle. But the Lions’ defence stepped up again to shut down Calgary’s touchdown hopes, as a big eight-yard sack from Tim Bonner was followed by an interception from Marcus Sayles.

Calgary got the ball to start the second half, but the relentless Lions defence forced another punt from Cody Grace. Whitehead and Burnham then gained a pair of first downs with gains of 12 and 20 yards, respectively. But Chris Rainey couldn’t get anything going for BC in the run game, and the Stampeders forced a turnover on downs when Raheem Wilson prevented Rainey from gaining any ground on third down.

The Stamps defence added another momentum-building turnover in the third quarter when defensive back Royce Metchie stripped the ball away from Durant, but the Lions silenced the crowd and got the ball right back on an interception from linebacker Boseko Lokombo.

Calgary cut BC’s lead in half with another 48-yard field goal from Paredes, but the next drive saw Hardin come through with a leaping interception on a Mitchell pass intended for Hergy Mayala in the end zone — his first career CFL pick.

Calgary received a spark with just under six minutes to play when Henry made another solid punt return, but the Lions’ defence refused to break once again and forced a 20-yard field goal from Paredes. The Stamps’ comeback hopes faded with just over a minute to play when Mitchell’s pass was picked off by Edwards-Cooper.

Today's CFL is more than just our great game of football. It's fans sharing their excitement for what they see on the field, and what they experience off it. Stay up to date on all the non-stop action at